A Little Background on Children’s AIDS Art Programme (CAAP)
By Mary Miyata (Founder and Executive Director)
Since I began living and working in South Africa more than sixteen years ago, I have been deeply touched by the widespread need and courage that so many of this country’s children have in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thousands of South African children have been left parent less, in poverty, and battling to stay healthy themselves. Despite these immense challenges, I have had the privilege of working with orphaned children through art therapy sessions, and have witnessed incredible resolve and life improvements. Their resilience touches me every day.
I initially began teaching art classes to children at Nazareth House, a home for 150 orphaned children in Cape Town, South Africa in 2002. Over three years, I developed a fun and effective curriculum to not only foster disadvantage children’s artistic skills but to offer a platform for self-expression and confidence-building. I continued to teach in other impoverished schools in townships around Cape Town and worked for the Nobel Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s HIV Foundation until officially establishing CAAP. By 2006, we opened CAAP’s first dedicated art school located within the Baphumelele Children’s Home in the township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Every year the kids always love our session, making mixed-media self-portraits. For these young people, who are trying to figure out who they are and trying to make sense of where they have come from, painting a picture of themselves is both an artistic and therapeutic process. Their work continues to inspire me, and I hope that sharing these twelve images with personal notes on the children will inspire you too. Our goal is to continue to open more art schools throughout the region and reach more and more children. Equally, this calendar is helping CAAP to build upon a higher education fund to secure further opportunities for these kids as they grow up.