ChildsPlay International (CPI) worked in several small villages, including Migori and Mikei, where a high percentage of children were orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. HIV orphans are common in Africa, where children have lost one or both parents to the disease. Many children are positive themselves.
CPI operated through schools and community groups, and visited homes and families. We engaged children in activities that brought joy to their physically and emotionally demanding lives. There was gospel singing, traditional dance, games, and storytelling.
We conducted video workshops where children wrote, acted in and shot videos of their lives.
One way not to feel abandoned, and cut loose from whatever you’ve known and loved, is to be anchored in tradition. In Kenya, this includes traditional song, and traditional storytelling. Singing, chanting, shouting and laughing: children love to express themselves through their voices. CPI encourages occasions to share those voices in song, especially in learning and celebrating songs of the local culture, which we did at the orphanages in Kenya.
We organized storytelling circles, which gave children the opportunity to share stories that they learned from elders, as well as more personal stories. We also taught them the technical skills of using a video camera to film their stories.