Art transcends boundaries, language and culture and unifies people through creative self expression, reflection and engagement.
At Aware we provide arts-based programs to foster social engagement and confidence building with refugee children in Melbourne, to build the sustainable livelihoods of women in Cambodia and to integrate education into the lives of street children in Kenya.
We believe art has the power to transform lives, strengthen communities, foster self-expression, and creativity while building sustainable livelihoods and futures for women, children and youth locally and abroad.
Creative community development projects, such as Aware’s Wool for Women & Creative Sparks programs, provide people with the opportunity to build self-confidence, learn new skills, forge new friendships, whilst exploring ideas, creativity, self-awareness and community engagement.
Such self-development enables people to hope, and believe in the sustainability of their futures and livelihoods.
In a study, commissioned by Melbourne based organisation The Song Room (link to Song Room- http://www.songroom.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/new-moves-executive-summary-report.pdf ) (2010), the value of creative arts based projects for people from refugee backgrounds was noted as crucial to developing social relationships within their new communities, often a daunting and challenging task for newly settled refugee children.
Participants involved in creative community development programs, similar to Creative Sparks, have also “reported feeling less shy, more confident and developing greater self- esteem in learning new skills through, particularly once they discover they can master a particular skill or art form that can be shared with others, such as peers, teachers and parents” (TSR 2010).
Providing Aware’s project participants with the opportunity to explore their self expression in a safe and welcoming environment among their peers also enables them to explore their own sense of cultural identity whilst developing new skills and forging new social relationships.
Aware’s community development model is inclusive, engaging, dynamic and provides an opportunity for Aware’s project participants to explore their past whilst developing their futures via creative avenues.
Art in community development projects and strategies, such as Aware’s, provides women, children and youth the opportunity to reflect, explore and envision their futures; a crucial building block to achieving wider community development objectives.
Aware’s creative community development programs most significantly however, promote awareness among women, children and youth of the possibilities of their own creative and sustainable livelihoods.
To learn how you can get involved with Aware to strengthen creative community development programs internationally please visit our website.
Written by Louella Fitzsimmons