A little Background

A little Background

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.

Endorsement of CAAP’S Work from Rosie Mashale

Dear Mary,
I have read the Newsletter with so much interest and to my surprise so many of those children I know them and can vouch for them. They deserve the support from CAAP.
Keep up the good work for helping these poverty stricken children.
All the best,
Rosie Mashale

Rosie Mashale is founder and managing director of Baphumele, a South African organization that provides various levels of care for more than 5,000 children desperately in need. Mashale’s efforts have won her recognition, such as being on CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2017 list. In 1989, Rosalia Mashale “Mama Rosie” to those around her, a trained primary school teacher, moved from the Eastern Cape to Khayelitsha in the Western Cape Province. Rosie was disturbed to see young children going through the rubbish dump in search for food while their parents were away during the day, either at work or in search of work. She responded by taking children into her home, and together with a group of women from the community, began looking after these unsupervised children. After the first week, 36 children had joined their charge.

The name given to this project was Baphumelele (pronounced: ba-poo-meh-leh-leh), a Xhosa word meaning “you have progressed”. From these humble beginnings Baphumelele Educare Centre was founded. While the Educare Centre had developed a reputation for looking after children, Rosie also felt a calling to reach out to orphaned children in the community. To that end, Baphumelele Children’s Home was created as a place of safety for abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned children, many of whom have been affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic or have HIV/AIDS.
Mama Rosie is a visionary paradigm-shifter whose leadership and vision continue to grow and shape Baphumelele today. In 2013 she was recognized as the South African Woman of the year. Rosie Mashale’s Baphumelele was visited by world renowned men and women, such as Nobel Peace Prize recipients Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Note: Rosie and I have been dear friends for 15 years and she is a trustee on our South African Trust. The CAAP Art School was located at Baphumele Children’s Home from 2005-2016. -Mary