Together as one – Pamoja Dance Group (Nairobi, Kenia)

Nele Vanhaeverbeke Interview, Video Leave a Comment

Pamoja Dance Group (led by Joseph Kanyenje, the current artistic director) is a mixed and inclusive group with a program intended to provide real integration of dancers with and without a disability into the arts community. It’s a unique group working with a new form of integration through artistic creation in an open and inclusive environment. Next to their artistic work, they also focus on integration into society at large.

Their objectives:

Bullet Raise awareness of disabled issues prevalent in society
Bullet To provide a forum for discussion of society’s development from a disabled persons perspective.
Bullet To support the government of Kenya’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability which was ratified in 2008.
Bullet To provide a creative outlet for people with disabilities to communicate issues that are important to them.
Bullet To challenge people to see the contribution that people with disabilities can make in performing arts and the wider society at large

Their weekly open outreach workshops for disabled and non disabled dancers find place in the studio space of the Kenya Conservatoire of Music – Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi. These workshops contain technical and physical training as well as creative work.
Pamoja Dance Group wants to spend more time on expanding the Outreach Program in the future, keeping in mind that 80% of the People With Disabilities (PWD’s) living in Kenya live in rural areas.  In many traditional cultures, people often see people with disabilities as a burden and unable to contribute to society. Pamoja feels that these misconceptions can be challenged through dance to help initiate a change in the way people view disability.

The objectives of the Outreach Program:

Bullet To introduce the broader population in Kenya to Pamoja’s mission and performances.
Bullet To inspire and motivate PWD’s who live in rural areas to access different services that can offer them support to medical, educational, training and employment opportunities.
Bullet To build networks of PWD organizations so that the disability movement can be strengthened at local and regional levels.
Bullet To challenge the local, regional and national decision makers and policy makers in Kenya to initiate changes to make the country more disability – friendly.

Below a documentary of Pamoja Dance Group.

Shared information in collaboration with Pamoja Dance Group (Nairobi, Kenia)

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