The arts are an undervalued skill in the poorer government schools, so many children never get the chance to create their artworks, now as adults, they can.
Johannesburg, South Africa – The Imbali Visual Literacy Project is a non-profit organisation involved in crafts training and skills development for underprivileged youth and adults. The skills they learn ultimately lead to job creation opportunities and economic empowerment.
The young adults that join the course learn a number of different skills and can then specialise in the one that brings them the most joy.
“We run three-year course for young and unemployed adults. Our students learn textile printing techniques, basic sewing, ceramics and felt-toy and jewelry making among many other skills and techniques.”
The organisation has a shop at Museum Africa where all the artworks and creations are sold and in return earns the students a small income.
Imbali started in 1988 primarily as a teacher training initiative by an organisation called ‘Women for Peace’ who saw a need to get quality arts education into schools. They created a series of books to help guide students and teachers through the various art techniques used by the organisation.
“Through the roll-out of the Imbali book, we continue this legacy as well as running our craft training course, writing materials and participating in creative initiatives in Johannesburg and around South Africa. We have also started an ‘Introduction to facilitation’ course to equip our students who want to share their skills to do so.”
The students use their own heritage to create genuinely South African art and pieces. The organisation is making a difference in the lives of adults with a desire to explore their artistic skills. Giving them a creative outlet to learn something new and hone in on their desired medium, plus the future of a job is something that has helped the organisation thrive all of these years.
They were recently featured on ETV’s segment called “South African Heroes”, you can watch it below to see more of what they do and how art is changing the lives of unemployed adults.