Amoyo Dance School caters to the impoverished children in Imizamo Yethu Township in Hout Bay Cape Town and have done impacted the lives of these young students in a remarkable way.
Kim Worrall (43) from Hout Bay, was volunteering in the victim support centre at the local police station, when she became increasingly aware of the lack of self worth experienced by young children in the area and how that often related to poor choices and run-ins with our justice system.
Worrall was seeking to empower young students, found an opportunity to express her concerns, when an existing dance school serving the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg community fell on hard times.
Having majored in Speech & Drama and Effective Communication, the prolific voice over artist and transitional coach met with Mandisa Qwesha and Nandipha Sandlana. Together they established Amoyo, a non-profit organization and comprehensive performing arts school to impact poverty through the discipline of dance and as the name indicates, the spirit of gratitude.
Through focusing on “gratitude” as a cornerstone principle, Kim and her expert team have created a nurturing environment and a strong foundation for the students who predominantly live in difficult circumstances.
“Many of our students come from difficult backgrounds where there’s domestic violence, a lack of stability, absent parents, unemployment, some live in extremely cramped conditions and don’t have a proper meal at home. With Amoyo we have become the family many of our students don’t have.” – says Kim
Amoyo currently teaches students aged 5 to 19 and since it’s opening in March 2015 has had over 300 students participating in the programme. Students who attend the programmes have also been commended for overall improvement and many have become role models for their peers.
“In 2.5 years we have increased school attendance, quadrupled our number of attendees, decreased teenage pregnancies by 100% to ZERO in the last 18 months, have potential school dropouts now becoming role-models and leaders, have children auditioning and being selected for professional shows”
Amoyo has seen a number of success in the last 3 years and were recipients of the Ministerial award for ‘excellence in developing self expression through the arts’ and the organisation’s governance. Amoyo’s founding teachers have also been praised by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and leading dance and artistic directors worldwide for their phenomenal teaching.
One of Amoyo’s students, Onela Metuso, through increased confidence and trained communication skills was successfully selected for a year’s working internship in Germany. On her return she was accepted into the Waterfront Theatre School together with Amoyo matriculant, Lindelwa Hlophe. Both young ladies received a 5 year bursary to the value of R500000 each provided by The Waterfront Theatre School and named The Amoyo Bursary, in recognition of support to Kim’s efforts who graduated as Student of The Year from The Waterfront Theatre School in 1999.
While securing their own venue remains a pipedream, in the meantime, Amoyo operates currently from Silikamva high school, Oranjekloof primary school and the Iziko Lobomi community hall.
After 2 major operational funding letdowns, Amoyo set up a campaign on the donations based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy to appeal to the public to save the after school program for the next 6 months while seeking larger corporate and government funding.
Amoyo currently teach 32 classes a week to the youth keeping them off the streets, safe and motivated. Classes cost approximately R2500 a term per child.
The campaign went live on the 30 April 2018 and thus far raised R 109 183.49 towards their goal of R 480 000.00 with contributions from over 50 donors. All donors qualify from a section 18A tax clearance certificate issued by Amoyo.
“We are giving encouragement, motivation and support in the way that every child and person should get in life but too few actually do. It’s important to show young children that they are wanted and respected. We have seen the power of changing negative thought patterns to shape positive behavior. We have seen the impact Amoyo has had on these wonderful children, we really hope the public will continue to support our BackaBuddy campaign”