May 16, 2017

PAMODZI!:

Circus Zambia Empowers Children in Lusaka Slum To Gain Skills, Avoid Drugs (Prudence Phiri, April 27, 2017, Global Press Journal)

"This is what Chibolya is known for, drugs and alcohol," says Patrick Chikoloma, 18, who once abused drugs.

He now is a member of Circus Zambia, an organization that aims to show children in one of Lusaka's poorest areas that they can aspire to bigger things.

"Drugs are easily accessible here, but we want to change that. We want good things to come out of this compound," Chikoloma says.

Having been exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age, four Chibolya youths in 2014 formed Circus Zambia as a way to keep young people off drugs by empowering them with both acrobatic and academic skills.

Circus Zambia founders -- Gift Chansa, Benard Kaumba, Bright Kalutwa and Amos Malokwa -- found themselves at Barefeet Theatre as they sought to escape the atmosphere of substance abuse in Chibolya. Barefeet is a nongovernmental organization founded in 2006 that uses play, creativity and art to empower vulnerable children and let them know they are loved and can seek a stable life.

There Chansa, Kaumba and Malokwa were chosen to learn circus in China for a year. Upon returning from China in 2014, the trio's stardom in Chibolya led them along with Kalutwa to start Circus Zambia, Chansa says.

"We were stars in Chibolya when word went 'round that we had travelled to China to learn circus. Every child wanted to be associated with us," he says.

"We grabbed the opportunity to change our community and we formed Circus Zambia, because then it was easy to convince the children that they too could be stars, that they too could fly overseas," Chansa says.


Posted by at May 16, 2017 4:20 PM

  

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