Changing lives through dance and music
The Omaleshe Dance and Drumming group is a smart partner of the Bank Windhoek Arts Festival (BWAF) since 2008. This group has made tremendous strides in changing the lives of a group of children in the Oshana region.
A study done by Sekola Foundation in 2010, found that performers in the Omaleshe group have increased discipline and confidence. Moreover, the study found that 89% of the girls in this group have knowledge on health issues and school principals reported that the girls are eloquent in English.
It is often said ‘art heals’. The following is a story by Doris Sisi, the Co-ordinator of Omaleshe, about Lola, one of the girls from the group.
“Lola joined Omaleshe when she was 3 years old. She was born with HIV and her mother died while she was still a baby. Lola’s family did not want her to know the nature of her sickness, until children at the school started to tease her. As a result she refused to take her medicine and threw it away. I talked to her about the importance of taking the medicine and the other girls in the group also supported her. With all the support she got, Lola started to take the medicine again. No one at Omaleshe teases her and the girls will sometimes remind me when we are performing that it is time for Lola to take her medicine. Now she is taking the medicine consistently and she is in good health. Lola is now 15 years old and takes her responsibilities as a member of Omaleshe seriously. She attends school regularly and has the confidence to face the many challenges her condition brings. Her English is very good and she has acted as a translator when I talk to the girls about HIV/AIDS related issues.”