I want to get the word out about a worthwhile creative arts project that I am very proud of my partner JJ to be involved in. In February 2013, a project in East Timor will be run to teach at-risk youth forms of artistic expression: Breakdancing, Music Production, Photography and Documentation skills.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this country, East Timor is one of the world’s newest nations and still suffers from a lot of third world developing issues that many of us are privileged to not experience. Some of these are as basic as no access to clean running water, while other issues range to a largely disengaged youth that fall through the cracks and resort to rebellion and crime.
Most of what East Timor lacks is opportunities for the young people that will carry the nation forward into the future. Projects like the ones that JJ and his friends are involved in, will leave these at-risk kids something positively engaging to develop their own community. While the project is only 2 weeks long, the tools and the skills these kids learn will remain with them. By connecting with the youth participants through hiphop culture (very community focused), we hope to empower them with the motivation to pursue personal and cultural expression. I’ve got some cool photos from one of the project organisers who has his own blog on street art in East Timor. I think it captures the current hopes and feelings about East Timor’s youth in relation to their displacement in this new country.
The project has received a great deal of support from The University of Melbourne which has put forward a generous portion of funding to run it. Of course there is still a significant gap between where it is at and what it needs to be complete, so the volunteers are trying their best to raise funds from donations. If you would like to read more about the project or donate towards a positive cause, you can visit the project’s funding website on Indiegogo (online fundraising platform used by non-profits such as the Red Cross). http://www.indiegogo.com/timorleste
You can also view more East Timor street art on the blog Peace of Wall.