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Africa Creates: Can Entertainment Change the World?

Vered Ehsani

Billian Okoth is a man with a mission: to educate while he entertains. Founder and Project Director of Billian Music Family, he is passionate about helping ambitious kids in Mathare (a slum in Nairobi).

Billian Music Family is a community-based organization in Mathare that identifies, develops and promotes ambitious kids and youths with great artistic talents. One of the organization’s main priorities is the provision of equal access to high quality education for the children. This is realized through their scholarship program. There are a total of 30 kids in the project now.

The philosophy behind the project is simple: “We believe in something we like to call edutainment,” Billian explains. “Edutainment is a mix of formal education and entertainment through music and dance. We want to emphasize the importance of education by providing a healthy and creative learning environment as well as a space for the children to freely express themselves.”

The centre provides after-school programs with qualified staff to assist the children with their schoolwork, as well as train them in various areas, such as domestic violence, leadership, videography and more.

It gives the participants the opportunity to express themselves through their art and to get involved in positive activities, such as community cleanups and peace campaign forums. The overall goal is to create dedicated and responsible young leaders.

The results are impressive. In the past three years, Billian’s project has gained national as well as international recognition. In 2012, the Billian Music Family won the Rotary Club’s Young Kenyan Service Award as well as ABaCoDe’s (Canada) Most Promising Community Project Award. They were honored with a Special Award by the National Council for Law Reporting and in 2013, they were nominated by the International Development Committee in Minneapolis (USA) for the Outstanding Leadership Award.

Watch their lively and inspirational We are the Nation and Birth of Hope videos.

As soon as their website is up and running, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, tell me know what you think.

Listen to the interview right now below:

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