June 13, 2022
Located in Kality, an area 30 minutes south of Addis Ababa, the Love & Hope Centre welcomes 70 children to after school programs every day. Students receive a hot meal and support to complete their homework. They also spend time tending to a community garden and participate in a wide range of special interest clubs, including an Art Club. The monthly donations that you provide as a regular donor to Vulnerable Children directly support this wonderful after school program.
Art is a huge aspect of Ethiopian culture, and while academics are seen as fundamentally important to success in life, artistic ambition and talent is highly valued and respected. Young and aspiring artists have truly blossomed in Kality. The artworks created by students of the Centre are vivid, stunning depictions of life in Ethiopia, featuring the people, landscapes, musical instruments, homes, and ceremonies that are part of the children’s lives. We feel so honoured that the children share their work with us, so that we can share it with you.
If you are a donor to Vulnerable Children or gave someone the gift of a donation to one of our programs over the holidays, you will have received cards featuring artwork produced by the children that are part of the Art Club at the Love & Hope Centre. Having an opportunity to view these artworks offers a window into treasured aspects of life in Ethiopia, and the skill level behind the work is truly incredible.
The Art Club began in 2013 at the Love & Hope Centre and is one of the most popular and sought-after clubs at the Centre. The Art teacher, Beza Demisse, volunteers to teach the art program, and has done so for nearly five years. Beza studied art and fashion at Tefari Mekonnen Fine Arts school and has participated in two United Nations Art Exhibitions in Addis. Under her dedicated guidance, the skills of students grow every year. Not only does Beza donate her time to teach children art at the Love & Hope Centre, but she contributes 30% of the profits of her art sales to support the art program. Beza runs the art program like a formal art class and teaches her students a variety of techniques for illustrating perspective, realism, light, and much more. The ways in which these skills contribute to the amazing drawings and paintings produced by children in the art program are clear.
Of course, the onset of COVID-19 impacted the Art Club, as it did all programs and clubs. Students were not permitted to come to the centre through much of 2020. During this time, Beza diligently put together small art packs of pencil crayons and paper along with practice ideas so that her students could create pieces at home. This past year (2021) students went to school in shifts and clubs were slowly brought back into the Centre. By the fall of 2021, everyone went to school as normal, and the centre resumed its regular schedule too.
While clubs at the Love & Hope Centre are supported through donations, the Arts Club is also supported by the students themselves. Students created their own artist guilds to create and sell art to purchase materials to improve their Club. As students grow up through the Club and age into college programs, amateur students begin a new guild and begin a new cycle, developing skills and entrepreneurship and selling their pieces. The way that students have developed this process instills a not only a lifelong love of art, which students take with them, but the tools to take their amazing skills and create self-generated income.
We share a glimpse into this program with you, as it is one near and dear to our hearts. Each year, as we receive images of the awesome pieces students create, we cannot help but marvel at the talent of these young students, and feel thankful for our good fortune to play a small role in their journeys.
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