Bringing hope (and Fresh Artists) to the rain forests of Guayana
Guyana has a dark side. Some may remember it as the place where Jim Jones, the American cult leader, lured 300 children to a Kool-Aid suicide in 1978. Even today, the country has the highest rate of suicide per capital in the world. Poverty and political corruption reign here.
But so does hope. Hope embodied in an American woman named Rebecca Anwar who, in her 70’s, travels to South America for three months a year to be present to children who live in the Hope Children’s House, home to 36 children, many of whom live with the effects of severe developmental delay.
Take Kavita, for example. She is 14 years old, is HIV positive, and cannot speak or read. But she sure knows how to draw! Creating Behr Paint Chip Art mosaics has been an outlet for communication for this child, who like many in the orphanage Rebecca visits every winter, was left by parents who either could not or would not raise their children.
Rebecca visited our studio recently to show us examples of the work these children have created through a partnership with Fresh Artists. We were first introduced to Rebecca through Carol Tyler, a good friend to FA. Both are active members of Rotary International.
Rebecca told us that when she visits the orphanage, she does “what needs to be done: change diapers, lay floor tiles, teach children how to play the recorder." (She is an accomplished flutist.) But before she left for Guayana this winter, Fresh Artists equipped her with her a Behr Chip Kit. Even though “art teacher” is not among Rebecca’s many identities, the children knew exactly what to do. The results were stunning.
Seeing the possibilities for expanding the seed of an idea into something much more expansive, Barbara suggested that Rebecca become part of Fresh Artists’ “Greenhouse” – our think tank and incubator that generates and grows entrepreneurial ideas, using children’s art as the springboard. Rebecca’s response to the offer: Yes!
I really want to be one of your ‘greenhouse’ students, she told us.
”I have been swimming under water for such a long time and would love to get tutored in breathing fresh air. I know that art and music touch the soul but have never felt that I could fully provide an opening for the children to grasp what they might express.”
Stay tuned for more on this exciting front!