Amoyo in the red

Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation is facing an uncertain future unless funds can be found urgently.

Hout Bay non-profit Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation is facing a financial crisis, and unless funds can be found to pay teachers and office staff, its future is in jeopardy.

Amoyo’s chief executive officer and co-founder, Kim Worrall, said it had become so much more than a centre for the performing arts and was essential to developing life skills among young people in Hout Bay.

“The situation is such that we can pay our teachers for this month, but we won’t be able to pay them from next month unless we can find the funding,” Ms Worrall said.

“Our beneficiaries cannot benefit if we can’t afford to pay our teachers and team. People have to be paid what they are worth.”

Amoyo has enrolled and trained more than 300 young people between the ages of 5 and 20 since it was founded three years ago.

In November last year, Amoyo won a ministerial award from the national Department of Social Development, recognising its excellence in encouraging self-expression in the youth-development sector together with its integral project management and governance.

“We have had to rethink our entire approach. There is a great need for our children to be nurtured and taught skills that are not being taught at home, skills that are needed to succeed outside the township environment,” said Ms Worrall.

“These children need daily input because the mind-set has to change. Initially, we completely underestimated what would be required financially, as we uncovered all the needs required within the NPO sector.

“As it stands, I am juggling the jobs of about six people, and my co-founders, Nandipha Sandlana and Mandisa Qwesha, are also under huge pressure.”

The team already holds 32 classes a week at the Iziko Lobomi community centre and Silikamva High School.

Ms Worrall said there was a huge demand from the community to double the number of youngsters enrolled, and the greatest need lay in the “Changing lives through performing arts” project, where positive-behaviour education was emphasised.

Young people from poor communities who participated in extra mural activities that kept them in school and prepared them for life tended to have more long-term success if there had been two to three years’ worth of ongoing participation, Ms Worrall said.

Amoyo had reached out to business people to raise the minimum R80 000 a month it needed to keep its after-school programme afloat.

The fund-raising campaign, “Be 1 in 100 Caring Corporates in South Africa”, is asking each corporate to donate R12 000 or more a year to the project.

Ms Worrall said the donations would help to create opportunities for 300 people through professional arts training in acting, dancing and singing and expose young people to coaching, mentorship and life-skills programmes.

Amoyo has also started a crowd-funding campaign on backabuddy (www.backabuddy.co.za/amoyo-performing-arts-foundation).

The campaign has already enjoyed some success. Sally Shuttleworth, of the Marketing Centre, has pledged funds, as has Hout Bay non-profit Chic Mamas Do Care. Signature Real Estate is also on board, while one unnamed individual has donated R20 000 to the cause.

“Amoyo has helped turn young people’s lives around,” Ms Worrall said. “In the last two and a half years since we incepted regular life-skill and reproductive health workshops and discuss these topics within our performing arts classes, we have had zero teenage pregnancies and all our participating matric students have passed.

“Without us, many of our Young Men of Change would probably have dropped out of school by now and would be out on the streets where there is so much temptation.

“Kids who started out dreaming of wanting to be dancers also now want to be pilots, lawyers and doctors, and their academic achievements are soaring.

“We are all about changing mind-sets, opening our children’s framework of opportunities, removing self-limiting beliefs and providing our youth with the toolkit needed to be successful in life, and we do this through engaging children through the arts. We hope to be able to continue to do so in the long-term.”

Amoyo is available for corporate and private events, and corporates and private donors who wish to get involved can contact Amoyo at 021 300 3297 or kim.worrall@amoyo.org. Ms Worrall can be contacted at 082 958 7187.