BLOG

0

Meet Lily Kudzro: A social entrepreneur introducing children to creative arts

When a child glides a blue paintbrush across a canvas to compose a lake, or sculpts an elephant from clay, something magical happens. That magic is not found in the finished product; it’s unimportant whether a painting resembles a real lake, or if an elephant’s trunk is proportional to its body. The magic is in the process of creating.

 

It’s the magic of the creative process that Lily Kudzro is introducing to Ghanaian and Kenyan children through the Devio Arts Centre, a social enterprise that aims to promote the creative educational rights and inclusion of young people, especially those from marginalized backgrounds. Devio Arts is disrupting education in Kenya and Ghana by scaling its Impact Learning Curriculum, which includes a unique combination of arts, design thinking, personal development, games and sign language lessons.

 

Lily Kudzro winning a Future Awards Africa prize in 2015, Lagos, Nigeria

 

When children learn to tap into their artistic creativity, they are doing more than drawing, painting or sculpting. They are engaging in activities that promote cognitive development and promote learning and success in other academic areas. The arts play an important role in children’s social and emotional development as well. And that’s where the real magic happens.

 

As a human rights activist and creative individual herself, Kudzro recognized that creative arts in Ghana, particularly fine arts, were being devalued in Ghana’s education system. She found that most graduates were trained to manage existing systems. But, without creative education, few had been taught to creatively problem solve, a skill that she found to be a huge advantage in the workplace. It was that gap in education that prompted Kudzro to found Devio Arts, which has since expanded operations to Kenya.

Teacher training at Devio Arts Centre

 

“When I dropped out of school due to financial reasons, it was my creative skills that actually landed me most of the big jobs I got into, while most graduates remain unemployed and without the creative skills to even start their own businesses,” says Kudzro. “I founded Devio Arts to help other young people reach their full potential by bridging the gap in the educational process of Ghana and the entire African continent since this problems cuts across various African countries.”

 

Devio Arts impacted the lives of 2000 children and trained 135 teachers in 2016 alone, and this year, the social enterprise expanded its work into Kenya to scale its work in educational reform. Kudzro and her team also recently added sign language into their curriculum, to help make education more inclusive and accessible for all children.

 

“We realized that sign language speaking is an art itself, and the coordination of combining the brain and fingers to communicate helps children increase their concentration skills as well as critical thinking skills, which is exactly in line with our work,” shares Kudzro. “The only difference between deaf children and hearing children’s learning outcomes is only linked to communication, so therefore if all children are engaged with sign language deaf children can be educated along side hearing children who can achieve the same learning outcomes, and potentials in the long run.”

 


Lily Kudzro is an alumnus of the Reach for Change Incubator program and received support to develop Devio Arts into a sustainable, scalable social enterprise from 2014 to 2016.

Originally posted on the Reach for Change Africa Blog: http://africa.reachforchange.org/en/blog/Meet-Lily-Kudzro/

0

When including children with disabilities helps all students develop

devio_arts_centreWhen a child glides a paintbrush across a canvas to compose a lake, or sculpts an elephant from clay, something magical happens. That magic is not found in the finished product, its unimportant whether the painting resembles a real lake, or if the elephant’s trunk is proportional to its body. The magic is in the process of creating.

It is the magic of the creative learning process that Devio Arts Centre aims to introduce to the Early Childhood Development (ECD) School System through the impact learning curriculum, which emphasizes and fosters inclusion of children living with disabilities.

The curriculum engages children in arts, design thinking, structured & free play, sign language and personal development. The sign language component plays an especially important role in the inclusion of deaf children in ECD classrooms, but also can have immense benefits to children that are not hard-of-hearing. And that is where the real magic happens.

We realized that sign language speaking is an art itself, and the coordination of combining the brain and fingers to communicate helps children increase their concentration skills as well as critical thinking skills, which is exactly in line with our work.

The only difference between deaf children and hearing children’s learning outcomes is only linked to communication, so therefore if all children are engaged with sign language deaf children can be educated alongside hearing children who can achieve the same learning outcomes, and potentials in the long run.

As a human rights activist, social entrepreneur and creative individual myself, I recognized that process based learning is undervalued in most African schools, particularly in the nurturing of children’s creative potentials in the early formative years.

I decided to address the problem through Devio Arts Centre, which runs training programs for Early Childhood devio_arts_centre1Development Teachers as well as providing afterschool programs for young people at the community and national level using the impact learning curriculum, ensuring that children with disabilities are not excluded.

The after-school program provides time for students to practice arts, frequently using technology and play. For instance, participants learn how to use software like “Scratch” for designing, and experimenting with different forms of art. Some children have created their own characters and developed a comic book on sanitation. The program also works with volunteers from Google who serve as adult mentors and role models for young children.

Since 2014, Devio Arts Centre has trained over 250 Teachers and impacted the lives of over 4,500 children, with an endorsement from the Government of Ghana’s Creative Arts Ministry in 2016. Devio Arts has also been given great recognition both locally and internationally, as well as winning of prestigious awards like the Future Awards Africa prize in Education in 2015.

Currently, Devio Arts Centre is advocating for policies to introduce sign language at the Early Childhood development level, so that deaf children can be integrated into mainstream school system by 2030.

Passionate about inclusive education? Sign the Devio Arts Centre’s Change.org petition!

devio_arts_centre2Though the sign language focused programming is currently young (it was started late last year), the feedback received from teachers to date is amazing, and is showing that teachers and children alike are reacting positively to the process of exploring a new language together in fun and creative ways.

Building upon this momentum will be crucial to fully meeting the 2030 SDG promise of inclusive education for all. Devio Arts Centre will continue connecting with schools to introduce more and more children to sign language and other creativity-promoting instruction. The team is also seeking impactful new partnerships with other innovators working in arts-based education, sign language development, or other related fields.

If you are similarly committed to hands-on learning that is both rigorous and innovative, you are most welcome to reach out and connect!

Lily Kudzro is an extraordinarily passionate social entrepreneur with over five years’ experience in advocacy and human rights law. As a young Executive Producer, Presenter, Writer and Founder of a leading non-profit organization in Ghana, Devio Arts Centre, she empowers children, young people and teachers through various creative programs she offers at both the community and national level in Ghana.

Photo Credits: Ashleigh for AusAID ; Devio Arts Centre ; Ingmar Zahorsky

0

Annual Children Art Festival (Ghana & Kenya)

Annual Children’s Art Festival (ACAF)

The Devio Arts Centre’s Annual Children’s Art Festival is a series of Children’s Art Festival event that take place in various communities across the African Continent. It seeks to promote a lasting creative relationship between children of all ages. This helps instill self-expression skills in young people and also provide children and young people, with hands on innovative learning through play experiences.

Currently, the event is organized annually in Ghana and Kenya.

0

School Workshops

We are more than cut and paste.

We develop comprehensive education curriculum for schools. This enables schools to develop solutions and focus on social issues, while students explore skills for personal and professional development.

Contact: [email protected] to request a creative curriculum for your school.

0

After School

Our programs reach the very children who need arts the most.

Apart from providing an avenue where children and young people are engaged in the arts and play, we also serving as an educational resource centre to the communities we operate in, we bring arts to all children wherever they are, irrespective of their location, gender, abilities and background. We ensure that every child we engage is able to maximize their experience and develop the skills of moving away from the limitations of text-book based learning.

12

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.