This is a letter about a new initiate I have undertaken after visiting schools in Africa and never once seeing even a crayon. I feel that these children need and are entitled to a creative and artistic education. Please support this and share it!

A teacher in Malawi receives a box with 20 crayons. What is the first thing he does with them?

Answer: Break them all in half so each of his forty students has something to work with.

Think of your childhood-

What if you never used a crayon, never made a picture, never learned about colors or shapes?

This is what daily life is like for children in Africa. African classrooms brim with bright young children bursting to learn and make and do. But even basic classroom supplies are critically lacking throughout their school systems. When I visited Malawi, Namibia, and South Africa recently, I met schoolchildren just like those I taught at home in New York City. I saw their joy in dancing and singing, and heard the longing in their voices when I talked with them about the art I made.

Why couldn’t they paint too?

Of course they could! Back in the U.S., I teamed with educational psychologist Shayna Kalish and the globally recognized nonprofit organization, Books For Africa, to establish a new initiative: Arts for Africa.

Our mission: Bring basic art supplies found in American classrooms to our partner classrooms in Africa. Along with supplies, we will provide teachers with lesson plans and support.
Americans know how vital the arts are to a well rounded education. Your donation to Arts For Africa will help children

  • think creatively
  • collaborate
  • create
  • solve complex problems
  • gain self-confidence
  • have the joy of creative self-expression
With your help, we can make a difference! 100% of monetary donations go towards purchasing art supplies for African classrooms!

Your generous donations will go directly to the purchase of

  • pencils
  • paintbrushes
  • crayons
  • paper
  • all the rest needed for an art classroom!

Their teachers will partner with Arts for Africa on an arts curriculum in their classes.

Do you remember the thrill of gazing into a new box of crayons,  holding color in your hand, taking a pencil to paper or wielding a paintbrush ? Then you can select exactly the supplies you would like to give with our Amazon wish list and feel a direct connection to the African students with the gift of your selected art supplies. They are automatically sent to our Atlanta warehouse, and then, on to its African destination. Many items on the Amazon wish list have free shipping to our Atlanta warehouse. The cost of shipment to Africa is completely covered by Books For Africa, so 100% of your donations go to funding art supplies and art education in Africa, with zero administrative costs. Selecting your donations on Amazon is the next best thing to showing up at the school with a truckload of gift bags!
A targeted venture of Books for Africa, Arts For Africa is a BFA subsidiary with a joint mission to enhance education in Africa. Books For Africa has earned its 4th consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and is a “Gold Participant” on the GuideStar Exchange. These ratings, the highest awarded by both organizations, show a great ability to efficiently manage and grow organizational finances. Since Arts for Africa is part of Books for Africa, a registered 501 (c)(3) charity, your contribution is fully tax deductible!
Your donation brings the joy of creative self-expression to children in Africa—one of the world’s great birthplaces of artistry. During this holiday season, as you buy gifts for those you care about, won’t you bring color, beauty, form and imagination into the hands of a waiting child?
Thank you for help and best wishes for the season,

Karen & Shayna, The Arts For Africa Team

WE NEED YOUR HELP! To help bring art making to children in Africa, please share this letter with your friends and on social media. To help in other ways, just email us!
Read Later
We are reaching out to our friends and family because Arts For Africa is a brand new initiative. Please sign up here for our official Arts For Africa list and you will be kept up-to-date on activities and achievements, with stories on how the children are using their art materials. 

About karenfriedland

I am a visual artist-- painter, sculptor, photographer-- coloring the world. My travels take me to many places around the world and I love connecting with others at home and on my trips. I am also a teacher (art), business person and creativity and business coach. My website is: www.ArtistKaren.com. I am so glad you have visited my blog!
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