The Lalela Project pits art against poverty

A Western Cape-based non-profit organisation empowers impoverished youths through art and music.

Children affected by extreme poverty suffer emotional, psychological, and spiritual challenges. Without support, these children find themselves in a cycle of poverty, unable to reach their full potential. Hout Bay-based non-profit organisation, Lalela Project, aims to liberate impoverished children in the Western Cape by educating them through art.

The organisation provides year-round, community-based education through the arts to children grades one through twelve during the vulnerable after-school hours and holiday periods. Using art and music experiences, the organisation provides children with an alternative to the destructive behaviours common to impoverished communities.

“We use the power of the arts to help students navigate a clear path that is often cluttered with the hazards of extreme poverty,” said the organisation.

Andrea Kerzner established the organisation in an effort to reach the “whole” child, mental and physical. The organisation uses art to teach children how to manifest their dreams and goals, igniting creative thinking and breaking the cycle of poverty.

“At Lalela Project, we engage and empower youth in creative thinking and solutions. Through the joy of the arts, children's voices and dreams can be heard, seen and realised.”

According to the organisation’s website, listening to children is an integral part of the process as Lalela means ‘to listen’ in Zulu.

“By listening to children through artwork and music, we learn about their challenges and dreams and we can, in turn, provide critical messaging and creative solutions to help them reach their true potential.”

The programme is also active in KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Uganda, and Hunts Point in the South Bronx, New York.