standtallWe’ve got an exciting project developing between our Stand Tall upper level students in Kampala, Uganda and their counterparts in Vancouver, Canada. Originally proposed by some of the Board members of Rose Charities, the idea consists of integrating youth on two continents; our African youth at Stand Tall who will be creating one of a kind, hand-painted t-shirts, and our youth in Canada who will market the products through their schools and on their social networking sites.

In October 2011, a group of talented young people from the Bavubuka organization in Kampala volunteered their time to work with the children at Stand Tall. They introduced our children to b-boy and b-girl dance moves, they spoke about rap and hip-hop and how one can use the rap form to express oneself in a positive and creative manner, and they talked about visual art and its practical application to the market place.  It was a week of workshops that energized and stimulated the participants and opened them up to new ways of thinking and doing.

One of the workshops, taught by Szanie, a young Ugandan artist, concentrated on t-shirt art and our students had the opportunity to make their own t-shirts. We bought used t-shirts from the street market and got some paint donated and the kids were encouraged to apply their own designs in a free form and unrestricted context. The results were posted on Facebook and the response to the children’s work has been very encouraging. Encouraging enough, in fact, to catch the attention of some of the members of Rose Charities who have proposed taking the idea further.

Our intention is to make more t-shirts in Uganda, send them to Canada, involve interested youth here in marketing them and promoting our cause. Some of the children of Rose Charities Board members are already fired up and ready to go. We love so many aspects of this project – so much learning will take place on both ends. What can be more valuable than creating and seeing a small business plan through from start to finish? It teaches time management, budgeting, planning, craftsmanship, marketing, publicity and promotion. It builds confidence, self-respect and creates an equal and progressive partnership between our youth. It’s a win-win for all involved.

We need to purchase a bunch of clean new t-shirts to work with, some fabric paint, brushes and we would like to give a small honorarium to our vocational trainer at Stand Tall who will be running this project. Any help you can give us to get these start-up costs met would be wonderful.

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