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Azulato children’s festival excites Ugandans

Children and parents entertained by rapping and beat boxing at the first ever Azulato Children’s Festival. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY ANDREW KARTENDE

Children’s NGOs partner with GZK, the German Cultural Society, to launch Azulato Children’s Festival

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Azulato Children’s Festival had a successful first year opening on Sunday May 6th, 2018 at Seven Trees Gardens in Kololo, drawing a crowd of about 1000, mostly young children with their parents.

With the vision of promoting active learning and inspiring children to discover new interests and talents, the festival was full of hands-on activities, interactive workshops and live performances brought by a variety of Ugandan organizations.

The children definitely enjoyed running from tent to tent to try out various arts and science activities, and schools proudly presented their performance troupes on the main stage.

40 Days over 40 smiles (4040), an NGO that works with vulnerable children to support education and especially literacy, was selling their Ugandan-centric children’s books at a tent beside the festival’s ain performances.

4040 is made up of good-willed young Ugandans, several of which contributed to the recent collection of story books in which Ugandan children can see themselves and be inspired to read and live more ambitious lives. Like many of the Azulato Children’s Festival partners who were running various activities in the gardens, 4040’s main purpose is to encourage the world to pay attention to children and to give back.

“We have come to inspire the youth and local communities to offer community–centred solutions in support of vulnerable children,” said Esther Kalenzi, 4040 director. Recognising that vulnerable children are entitled to good education, food, books, toys, clothes and any other form of support like money, Esther and her team have gone the extra mile by producing children’s books written by Ugandans for Ugandans.

In selling these books, along with t-shirts, hoodies, key holders, puzzles and a number of other items, they are able to raise funds to support these children and ongoing projects. All these items were displayed at the Azulato Children’s Festival, and can be found at 40daysover40smiles.org.

Esther Kalenzi, 40 days over 40 smiles director, explained that – in the same spirit of the Azulato Children’s Festival – her organization has partnered with the Breakdance Project Uganda (another organization that was also running activities at the festival) to teach her organization’s participating children hands on skills that keep them engaged, learning while having fun in the process.

Delilah Aisu, the communications officer of Save Street Children Uganda, another organization that participated in the Azulato Children’s Festival engaging children in arts and crafts skills, says that exposing the youngest Ugandans to opportunities to engage with other children and try new things should be taken seriously in order to help children become creative thinkers, grow their soft skills like teamwork and problem solving, and ultimately prepare them to become better members of society – thus shaping a better future for Uganda.

At the Azulato Children s festival, Save Street Children Uganda taught children how to create photo frames, canvas painting, drawing on paper, shading and expressing emotions through pictures. It was an experience the children will never forget.

The first Azulato Children’s Festival attracted an enthusiastic crowd of all ages, and was made possible through collaboration between very many Ugandan organizations in partnership with the organizers Goethe-Zentrum Kampala, the German Cultural Society. The festival intends to come back next year with more activities that inspire creativity and exploration among Uganda’s children.

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Follow the Azulato Facebook page for updates at www.facebook.com/AzulatoChildrensFestival or visit the website at www.azulato.org as not to miss the next festival.

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