The grassroots youth arts organization, Manifesto|Jamaica, has partnered with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the European Union (EU) to educate, expose and empower at-risk youth in various inner-city communities through art and culture. This EU-financed GOLA (Grants of Low Amounts) IV Project, which began in January, is primarily targeted at youth from the August Town, Nannyville, Trench Town and Seaview Gardens communities.
“We are grateful for the financial assistance from the EU and for JSIF’s support. Culture and creativity have an immeasurable capacity to teach and heal, and we commend their willingness to invest in this initiative. We’re on a mission to improve the personal capacities and self-esteem of our peers, which will further national efforts to build a peaceful and productive nation,” said Manifesto|Jamaica’s Managing Director, Lesley-Ann Welsh.
On Saturday, February 18, Manifesto|Jamaica held a ‘Minifesto’ in the Nannyville Community Centre, which had dozens of youth participating in a Filmmaking and Photography workshop led by Varun Baker and also a Breakdancing workshop conducted by the Demolition Dancers. The younger children enjoyed arts and craft activities during the day until the talent show in the afternoon, which had Nannyville’s musicians, poets and dancers showcasing their skills.
Another ‘Minifesto’ was held on the following Saturday, February 25, at the August Town Primary School, where the community’s youth participated in workshops that they had requested. These were a Capoeira workshop by the Grupo Capoeira Alafia and a Drama workshop by Scarlett Beharie and the Jamaica Association of Dramatic Artists (JADA). The ‘edutainment’ segment featured community talent, as well as rising Reggae fusion artiste, Kabaka Pyramid.
“Our workshop facilitators have been very kind as they have given their valuable time to mentor the youth, who have been very receptive and excited about what they have been learning,” says Manifesto|Jamaica’s Programme Manager, Natalie Reid. “The response from the youth has been overwhelming and we see the need for more initiatives like these in our inner cities. We hope this is just the beginning of a long sustainable relationship between ourselves and all of the communities within which we have worked so far.”
Youth from the aforementioned communities, and others such as Drewsland, Waterhouse and Tivoli Gardens, convened for a Workshop Weekend on March 3rd and 4th at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC). There they participated in a series of workshops, including Dub Poetry, Live Food Preparation and the Business of Music, among others. The Manifesto Volunteer Programme (MVP) training followed on Saturday, March 17 at the EMC and the youth in the GOLA IV Project, as well as the wider network of Manifesto|Jamaica’s community volunteers, were trained in project management, public speaking and social media.
This EU-funded project came to a close with a final Minifesto in Seaview Gardens on Saturday, March 24, which featured arts-based workshops, an open art studio for children and the usual ’edutainment’ provided by Manifesto|Jamaica.
More pictures from these activities can be seen below.