The Artwork of Asayo’s Wish Children

December 9, 2009 at 7:31 pm 5 comments

Following up on the introduction of Sarah Asayo in the last post, we wanted to show off some of the art created by the children of Asayo’s Wish Orphanage on our  last visit in September 2009.  Here’s an excerpt of the journal entry I wrote about the experience:

I’ve just returned from three weeks in Uganda and Kenya for work with the Trivani Foundation. In Uganda, we spent the majority of our time in a village called Kaberamaido, at an orphanage called Asayo’s Wish. For most of the last three decades, political unrest and civil war has ravaged this part of northern rural Uganda. As a result, there are many widows and many orphans and a lot of suffering as people start to put their lives together.  Trivani Foundation has begun working with these alienated groups within the local community to empower them and ensure that their future is better.

As one of many things that we did while staying at Asayo’s Wish, and with funding from Great West Institute, we facilitated a collaborative community arts project with the 160 children who live at the orphanage.  We started with about  50 children in the first group. I had brought from the states seven boxes of crayons (with 96 colors each) and we turned the children loose on imagination-based drawings. There was a lot of excitement with using crayons, but there were also some children who were unsure of how to proceed. I think that the creative outlet and open-endedness was foreign to them, given that most of their schooling is structured around specific outcomes and artmaking is basically never on the agenda.

After a few minutes and some coaching/modeling, they loosened up and loved it. Once we had the drawings, we moved the children outside to the side of an old shop, on a highly visible wall in the compound and from the nearby road. I had brought dozens of brushes from Utah and in Kampala before we drove to Kaberamaido, we had purchased ten gallons of various oil-based colors (latex acrylic is basically unavailable there). With the kids looking on, we unpacked the paint and proceeded to mix some additional colors and distribute them to the children After a short translated lesson on how to use the paint and brushes responsibly, they started transferring their drawings to the wall. It was definitely the first time for most of these kids to dip a brush in paint and they took to it quickly.

Initially intending only to paint the one side of the shop, the children made the executive decision to expand around the entire building and then onto the neighboring latrines. A few hours later, we had to cut them off and help them get cleaned up.  The next day, I facilitated the same activity for the remaining children (approx. 100!) and the walls started to fill in with their paintings. Over the course of the remaining week, one of the leaders (my main man Moses), worked with the children to fill in the negative space and tie the murals together. The results are stunning and the experience beyond explanation.

When we left Asayo’s Wish, most of the paint in the cans remained and I entrusted Moses with the task of providing more creative opportunities for the children with that paint. As far as the mission of eradicating poverty in this region, it may be difficult to cite a concrete and verifiable outcome of this mural activity. However, under the goal of empowerment, I believe this project will have significant, far-reaching and long-term impacts on these people; for the members of the community at-large and especially for the children who participated in this simple collaborative and creative process. I am excited to visit Uganda next year to see what will unfold. –cp 10/2009

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the mural project

Entry filed under: Trivani HQ, Uganda. Tags: , , .

Meet Sarah Asayo: Founder of Asayo’s Wish Orphanage Asayo’s Wish Community Outreach Orphan Care Program

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Megan  |  December 9, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks Great West!

  • 2. neupanek  |  December 10, 2009 at 2:12 am

    This is so motivating. Like it!

  • 3. Elisa  |  December 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Artistic self-expression is so important! It can change lives. Just look at the smiles on the children’s faces! It validates them, tells them that their contribution to their community matters. I am such a believer in art in the school curriculum. It develops a part of the brain and personality that standard curriculum cannot.

  • 4. Sarah Asayo  |  December 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Chris/ Megan,

    The children really enjoyed painting with you… its all they talk about. They cannot wait unitl you visit again… thank you! thank you, thank you…

  • […] allowing them opportunities to be expressive and creative with paint. (The paint was left from the first mural undertaken at the Orphanage in September when Megan and I were there last. ) Thanks […]


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Trivani Field Notes is your connection to the people on the ground engaged in the humanitarian work supported by Trivani Foundation.
Each week, new updates and stories from the field will be posted to share the accomplishments, needs, and gratitude from those who can best report the difference Trivani Foundation is making in the fight against poverty.

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