Communities Catch a Spark

Spark grants exist to effect the guiding principles in the default world, through community projects and generally doing good stuff. Anyone can apply, but the projects must take place in South Africa and the project at the very least must be nominated by an individual that went to AfrikaBurn in the same year.

Communal effort was high on the agenda for Spark Grants in the 2018 cycle as were youth activities.

The project PMB Skates! hosted 3 DIY weekends, mobilising people to get their hands dirty and renovate Alex Park in Pietermaritzburg. Approximately 60 locals who use the park ( skaters and BMXers) were assisted by approximately 15 parents and 15 skaters from other areas. Together, they took the first step in realising a dream that local youth will have a safe and free space to skate.

The eMzantsi Diversity Programme used art therapy and diversity awareness techniques in community workshops in Cape Town’s South Peninsula. One  workshop involved Scarborough and Masiphumelele residents and internationals including a Wixáritari (Mexico) healer. A second workshop involving Ocean View and Masiphumelele residents using restorative healing techniques supported by social workers and lastly a workshop involving homeless in and around Fish Hoek.

Volunteers at the Upperhall Pentecostal Church in Ocean View  increased capacity in their soup kitchen to feed 50 children and 40 adults on a weekly basis.

With funds for upgrades to the actual BMX track secured with a co-funder, the Pump Your Track! Spark Grant was used for upgrades and repairs to the container resource centre and bicycle workshop space in an enclosed and safe environment, adjacent to Ocean View Secondary School. The workshop/ resource centre took 12 weeks to upgrade ahead of the summer holidays and is now used daily by local adults and children.

Our community’s keen sense of Civic Responsibility sprung forth: Support (y)our Guardians, a project that teamed up with social development organisation, Community Cohesion to support 12 of our Event Guardian managers with stress management skills and low arousal response work, to help maintain emotional wellness in their daily working lives.

Smile and Wave Surf Therapy recognised Radical Inclusion with eight beach sessions at Surfer’s Corner, Muizenberg, reaching a total of 160 ‘Environmental Surfers’ children, youth and adults from Lavender Hill – involved in beach clean ups, learn to surf lessons, and environmental education.

Immediacy was the principle that Borderlands Youth Camps aligned with. Two camps each two nights in duration immersed high school learners from Philippi, Da Gama Park, Simonstown, Fish Hoek, Masiphumelele and Ocean View in nature. The Dream Your Destiny Trek was a weekend adventure in Table Mountain and the Bridging Borders Eco- Arts Camp was a journey of creative connection, critical debate and experiential nature. The project involved 31 teenagers.

8 Hotbox Theatre members gifted their time and expertise to the Community Arts Intervention Program as part of a 150 strong team providing a range of creative education programme in Tambo Village outside of Queentstown in Eastern Cape. The weeklong programme included acting (Hotbox’s expertise), music, gumboot and modern dance, and soccer. Within the programme was a specific girls programme around identity issues. The programme culminated in an interdisciplinary showcase and soccer tournament. Spark funds were used to transport the artists (most of whom are ‘burners’) from Khayelitsha and back home.

Using participation to break down perceptions of ‘us and them’ within the cycling community 13 cyclists (12 adults and one youth) from Masiphumelele Adult Cycling Empowerment competed in four events – three in Paarl at Simonsvlei, Perdeberg and Windmeul wine estates, and the One Tonner Stellenbosch race. The net result – 10 received entries for the subsequent Cape Town Cycle Tour proving they are no longer merely spectators.

Saturday drama classes for children in Khayelitsha was the focus of each one teach one – the programme was so popular it increased to three weekday afternoons as well. 20 children from all over Khayelitsha increased their confidence and connections through learning theatre techniques.

11 women, abuse survivors from a Cape Town shelter, received weekly equine intervention for a period of eight weeks to assist with assertiveness, boundary setting and understanding the components of a healthy relationship. Using ground based (no riding) interventions with horses encouraged the women to overcome fears,  communicate and create metaphorical and experiential links to aspects of their lives towards radical self-reliance. One participant commented:  Through working with the horses I’ve learnt that I need to be patient with myself and respect myself first before I can manage other relationships in my life.

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