Sankofa Open House (SOH) is a summer youth programme developed by Our Afrikan Heritage magazine (OAH) that is geared towards educating young people aged 8 to 14 in the areas of organic agriculture, collective community consciousness, Afrikan history, arts and craft and academics. Due to restricted space and funding SOH at this moment can accommodate a maximum of 15 children. At the end of the summer, each young person will have prepared, planted, reaped and sold organic agricultural produce. They will leave knowing much more about Afrikan culture and about themselves. The children will also be exposed to various types of arts and crafts, including cartooning, mask making and jewellery making. Academic lessons will also be provided and the children will return to school stronger in the subjects in which they may have been experiencing some difficulty. Conflict resolution and problem solving will be included in the daily activities.
SOH has engaged professionals in activities related to the “Back to our Roots” theme to enable the young people to have the very best instruction. The instructors will ensure their respective activities will yield positive tangible results at the end of the camp.
Organic agriculture activity: SOH will teach organic agricultural techniques in a practical farming environment. Our organic agricultural programme will also teach space management techniques for farming in residential areas. Two six week crops will be chosen to be planted. The children will hatch plants from seeds and seedlings. For the duration of the six weeks, they will tend to the crops under the direction of professional organic farmers. Crops will be reaped and the produce sold in the market by the young people.
Here are some images from the commencement of our agricultural activity.
Getting the containers ready.
SOH away team purchasing the seedlings which the rest of the crew will plant.
Arrival of the soil ...
Final instructions before we get going and then we are ready to start work.
Containers in place and now to add the soil.
Now to manure and soak. SOH is using sheep dung.
Planting of seedlings with Ras Mike from the organic farm in St Lucy.
Afro-education: Another area of concern for us at OAH is the lack of a sense of identity in our young people. Afrikan (pre-colonial) history and culture will be taught each day at SOH in order to develop a greater awareness of our heritage.
Creative writing: OAH magazine sees the need to encourage more critical thinking among our youth and will therefore incorporate creative writing and storytelling into SOH’s programmes. The children will be tutored in creative writing by professional teachers who will also be involved with the other academic lessons.
Academic lessons: The instructors will ascertain information from each child on the particular subjects with which extra assistance is needed to ensure the effectiveness of lessons provided.
Arts and crafts: The young people will learn basic art techniques. Cartooning, jewellery-making, mask-making and sculpting will be included in our arts and craft activities.
Exercise and grounding: Each morning SOH will start with a brief stretching and meditation routine. This will be followed by our morning conversation during which we will discuss the moods and feelings of the various children each day.
Tours: Fun, educational tours will be organised once each week to a place of interest relating to our various activities.
Movies: As your child waits to be collected, he or she will be entertained by an age-appropriate movie that may have an Afrocentric theme.
Meals: The meals and snacks provided for the children at SOH will predominantly be vegetarian. We will encourage the children to understand the importance of diet and the significant role nutrition plays in our health and well being.
SOH is about to start its third week. Thus far we have had two tours that went to organic farms, commenced the creation of a story collectively created by the children and illustrated by our resident cartoonist advanced on our creative writing and had loads of fun in our arts and craft. On our last tour the children collected clay from the mud banks of a pond that irrigated the organic farm we visited. As you will see in the images the youth had messy fun creating their works of arts from the mud clay.
Please remember the camp runs for 7 weeks and we are asking you to sponsor a child for one week. We thank everyone that has thus far sponsored a child. In an upcoming update I will discuss with you some of the fundamental philosophies of SOH.
The creation of our story ..... Here the children collectively create a story. The characters in the story are all created by little ones, with each child having a character in the story. The children draw their characters which are then redrawn by our cartoonist in the likeness of what the child created. At the end of the camp, we would have produced a full comic strip that will be published on this website. Here now are images from our story telling adventure.
Our first tour went to the organic farm at Mt Carmel in St John. Here everyone got an introduction to organic farming and the use of herbs as pesticides as well as use for medicinal purposes.
Our second tour also went to an organic farm, this time we hit St Andrew. Unfortunately for us the rains came in and prevented us from conducting the tour as we planned. We do give thanks for the rain. The children loved the mud.
From this tour as was stated before, the children collected clay and this is what they did with it.
Using the theme of SOH which is "BACK TO OUR ROOTS", children were encouraged to use food stuff in the week of Health and Nutrition to create works of art. Here is what they did.
Afro edu time is always a favourite with the children. Making it that more special is our instructor from South Afrika. The children have fun learning the various sounds of one of the languages of the South Afrikan Zulu people. As SOH proceeds they will each construct their own family trees. Here they will learn the importance of family and their role in the family.
Updates on the progress of the SANKOFA OPEN HOUSE will be published twice a week.
SPONSOR A CHILD. If you would like to make a donation to the success of this programme you are asked to contribute to SOH's SPONSOR A CHILD outreach. Sponsorship per child is US$50 per week. Your sponsorship helps with the provision of meals, tour buses, stipends for instructors, camp shirts and materials. Persons willing and able to sponsor a child may contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.