YADEN Empowering Youth Through Creative Arts

Jackton Okoth is a well-known 30 year old youth in Mathare and Huruma areas. Owing to his long dreadlocks, fellow youth refer to him as Ras. Jackton had been nominated as a Youth Bright Spots by fellow youth due to the mentorship roles he has played in Mathare, especially among youths struggling with alcohol and other substance abuse.

The Power of one person dedication …. The power of small actions …that leads to big results

“With my dreadlocks, drama background and rough style, it is easy to attract youth, especially male youth struggling with drug abuse. They feel at ease with me and open up to me. Initially, I just thought it was cool but never thought I could use it more positively until I became a Youth Grassroots Development Coordinator, YGDC.” says Ras.

YADEN’s mission, through the support of KCDF’s Kibera Fund programme, is to mobilize young people and assist them identify and advance their potential into skills that assist them earn a descent income while empowering them to become active participants of their communities socio-cultural, economic and political development.

YADEN partnered with the Youth Bright Spots to build the capacity of 15 semi organized and viable youth groups which will act as platforms of opportunity for over 300 youth. These youth will reach out to fellow youth and their communities through creative arts, inclusive and participatory form such as skits, video screening among other forms.

After one of the training for YGDC, all participants were given a task to develop a creative and visual presentation of a possible project. YADEN through the Liberty Centre offered Kshs. 5,000 as first prize for the winner. To his surprise, Jackton emerged the winner beating 43 entries that had been submitted. His piece was on drug abuse among the youth and how it is ruining young people’s dreams and potential. It was a collage of different materials that included stuck up objects, photos and drawings on an A1 manila paper.

Jackton used his prize money to enroll for a counseling course at Kenya Association of Professional Counselors. After graduating with a Certificate after the four week full time course, he visited 21 primary and secondary schools in Starehe and Kasarani constituencies and offered to mentor the pupils and students on the dangers of drug abuse. Nine of the schools agreed to be part of his mentorship programme and with this confirmation he approached NACADA, the Kenyan Anti-Drug Agency which readily gave him training materials for the mentorship exercise.

To realize his mentorship, he developed short theatre performances with his group and after presentations, one high school teacher encouraged him to venture into set-book presentations industry and to use the good will demonstrated by the schools to mobilize clients and audiences. With this information, he requested YADEN to assist him carry out auditions of local talented youth, mostly youth that he had met in his anti-drug mentorship. They then formed a group called Talents.

YADEN visited his group and trained them on various theatrical skills as they prepared for their set-book presentations. This presentation will offer sustainable and decent income for at least 26 talented young people besides assisting them identify and advance their talents into skills.

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