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Kampala holiday makers enjoy Azulato Children’s Festival

The pottery class. ALL PHOTOS Photos De Lovie & Kakatshozi

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Azulato Children’s Festival for a second straight year took thousands of children into a whole new world of artistic and scientific experiences April 28, sealing its place on the children’s holiday calendar.

Scientist, beat-boxing, pottery, drum circles, recycling, storytelling, free face painting and board games were on the program, alongside new activities like Capoeira, a form of martial arts and crotchet making.

The annual festival, whose goal is to give children innovative new ways to learn and develop skills at a young age, is an initiative by the Goethe Zentrum Kampala, Uganda German Cultural Society. It had its first edition in 2018.

Gyagenda Isa of Faamclub, an organization that conducted workshops at the festival engaging children in creative recycling fashion shows said, “Our education system focuses majorly on cramming what is in the books, teachers undermine the slow learners hence killing their self Esteem.”

“It would be very important to discover the child’s strength or interests and then purely help to develop that whether in Science, sports, Art, speech and social interaction.  The child will freely discover and express him/herself better. With this generation, self-expression and creativity matters so much for the growth of our young people.”

Painting bottles (above) and bottom, and below, the mad scientist does his thing.

Families flocked the 7 Trees Gardens in Kololo for the free event and children had the opportunity to take part in hands-on arts and science activities, interactive workshops and live performances by various Ugandan organizations and schools.

The festival’s vision of promoting active learning and inspiring children to discover new interests and talents were fully achieved as the children distinctively enjoyed visiting different workshop stations to try out various arts and science activities.

Schools like Kiwatule Primary School, Blessed Toddlers Nursery and Primary School, Baraka Performers, Rays of Hope among others gave powerful stage performances through traditional and creative dances and singing.

This year’s festival was even more inclusive with initiatives like Save Street Children Uganda, a home for former Street children and Home of Joy Centre for Children with Disabilities proudly presented powerful performances on the main stage and later joined in on the fun workshops and activities.

At the workshops, children were  able to create artsy works out of the thrown away materials which are most dangerous to our environment especially plastics. They later enjoyed modelling with their recycled fashion work, which helps them learn to save the  environment and also encourages self-expression and creativity as  they do the work themselves.

Ngoma Jam Session’s Liz Kamugisha points out the fact that children are under a lot of pressure to perform well in exams, which can create a lot of stress and anxiety for them yet what is learnt is very theoretical and difficult to apply in real life.

Kamugisha said that is why initiatives like Ngoma Jam Session conducted drum circles and drum workshops for children at Azulato Festival. She says that by showing children how one can learn through play, and how approaching learning with a sense of curiosity and experimentation, they can improve problem-solving skills & creative thinking, which are practical skills one can apply to life beyond school.

Furthermore, group drumming provides a method of release, for those still carrying the stress and anxiety of exams. It is also a confidence-building exercise that is bound to put a smile on even the shyest child.

This edition of the 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 Uganda German Cultural Society.

The festival will come back bigger next year with more activities that inspire curiosity, creativity and scrutiny among Uganda’s children.

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