I went to Sevalaya School, west of Chennai city, India from January to February 2012 as a volunteer for Children's Art Village. I worked as an art teacher along with the local teacher to produce an installation with 800 kids made from rubbish which was then exhibited in the city. I had email contact and had met Mai before I went and she was amazing in putting me in contact with past volunteers as well as supporting me through email when I was out in India for the two months. I felt prepared when I went and had a good picture of what to expect. The school was great and I really enjoyed my time there working with the art teacher. The kids were brilliant and very amusing. I stayed in accommodation on the school site which is basic but with great food served three times a day, eating with the kids from the orphanage who are always on site. The staff at the school were great and I had the opportunity over that time to make good friends and enjoy the beauty of Indian hospitality. The school is run really well and the kids are well looked after. Mr Murali the founder and his wife, Bhuvana, are great and were really supportive in the project. Having the opportunity to volunteer with Children's Art Village was an incredible experience and one in which I took many things from. Cant thank Mai enough. Charlotte
Children Art Village had provided me the opportunity to affect the children of the orphanage run by Christ Church in fetteh- Gomoa in central region of Ghana.
I am da-costa Adeoye and was invited by Mai Breach on behalf of the children’s Art village to participate in the one week children’s Art summer school that provides the children with experiences in music, drawing, painting, sculpture, textile design, dance and craft.
I had always loved to impart knowledge into others and engage in human capital development through art.
Art is a veritable tool to developing the three domains of human that is the affective (attitude), cognitive (knowledge), and psycho motor (skill) domain.
This was the focus of our endeavour when I and my friend Olusegun Adeniyi an astute and amiable art instructor cum painter was in Ghana. The children of the Hope orphanage were able to express themselves in a relaxed atmosphere to learn art as this had gone a long way to providing a therapy for children that had gone through some painful past. The classes were enjoyable to the children.
Our students express joy and they had fulfillment in what they were learning. It also affords me and Olusegun of exporting our skill via a charity programme at the CAV summer Art class.
I cannot but talk about Mai Breach a visionary leader who made everyone to feel comfortable and stay focused. It was so evident that she was doing all that for her love for humanity seeing all the virtues, care, and unparalleled leadership she displayed in Ghana. Worthy of commendation is the sense of urgency and passion with which she does her work.
I would like to do more with CAV using my God-given talent and skill to encourage and bring up children to become a better and responsible citizen of this world.
There are innate abilities locked up and embedded in every child and it is such laudable project like CAV’s summer art school that can harness and develop it.
Moreover, future wise these children will also if given opportunity would do the same to their generation and those coming after them, so one cannot over emphasize the benefits of conscientising and changing the thinking/mentality of these wards towards improving humanity in whatever noble way.
Consequently, many tyrants and Despots that has gone down in history became ruthless and devoid of every form of human feelings due to the fact that their childhood was marred with different kind of abuse and deprivations as a result, myself and my friend Olusegun have purposed to go any length rightly possible to be an instrument of change and development to this generation especially the upcoming children. As it was once said by “Edmund Burke” that the greatest evil is not the one that has been done but when good people refuses to do something about the ills of our days (Paraphrased).
Art appeals to the psyche of every human being. It can tame the widest, heal the hurtful, fill the void of the emptied, comfort the soul of the bruised and change the view of the misled. And CAV had provided the perfect platform for those that have the same vision to do something. The challenges in our world, which also pose a threat to our corporate peaceful co-existence, should stir us to act.
As da-Costa Adeoye and Olusegun Adeniyi is poised to continue to add value to humanity especially children through textile design, drawing, painting, and crafts. The experience in Ghana as facilitated by Mai Breach and the donors to the CAV programme cannot be easily forgotten. As long as we can continue to have such project like the summer Art school of the children’s Art Village then there is hope that the world would be a better place for us and the upcoming generation.
I first became involved with Children's Art Village as an intern creative arts teacher while studying International Development in Ghana. I was led to CAV in search of a dedicated and responsible organization that a) recognized the importance of exposing youth to creative expression through the arts; and b) also embodied through its programming the incredible value in developing sustainable long-term partnerships with local and international communities and artists.
This organization more than met these expectations. Through its loving and well-orchestrated work, CAV brings children and youth together with local and International artist-teachers to expose children to a vast array of art forms, including those with roots in Ghana.
Being a part of both CAV's academic and summer programming has exposed me to the ongoing commitment of CAV to remain a constant part of the community at the Village of Hope Orphanage in Ghana, and to do so through meaningful partnerships and mutual learning.
I am an artist-cum-creative art instructor and a blogger of Nigeria descent. I was part of the team of 16 creative minds at the Summer Art and Music program held recently by Children Art Village. I and my artist friend Adeoye daCosta from Nigeria were in Ghana for the Summer Art and Music program at the Village of Hope in the month of August. It was a rare opportunity for artists from different cultures and continent of the world to come together to help kids unlock their potentials.
My friend, da-Costa and I had fulfilled moments and we were able to connect with the children’s aspiration to create Art and exposed them to a unique form of Art from Nigeria, ADIRE. We offered a unique artistic concepts, introduced new visual art techniques and media that stimulate the interest of the kids to create differs art form. We both share from the philosophy of the Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso; “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. Oluwasegun and Adeoye choose to fill the gap, to help the young ones with their God’s given talents and potentials, build their creative lives and give them form.
The credit goes to Mai Lai Breech for providing such a platform to nurture new talents. I respect her for her great understanding of individual differences and her ability to accommodate people irrespective of their race, cultural background and social status.
“You’ll never stand so tall as the day you stoop to help a child.” – Anonymous.
The above quoted texts constantly spoken by Mai; the founder of Children Art Village was an influence and motivation on the team to do more with the kids at the Village of Hope. Mai kind gestures and selfless acts is an ignition for every one in the team to give their heart into the project. She is such a humanitarian with the drive to change the world. She offers with the team an art engagement for the kids which are a powerful means of expression and therapy.
Every child has some artistic ability and with the right environment and guidance they can discover and harness their inner creative genius. Their artistic abilities awaiting expression can be tapped as a therapy to help cope with crisis, and achieve mental and emotional stability. I believe CAV Ghana 2011 had a tremendous impact on the children of the Village of Hope, Ghana.
The images to this effect are just a click away, please follow this links;
with much love from Nigeria
Olusegun Michael, Adeniyi
I volunteered with CAV as a music teacher for their art camp held in Ghana, Africa at the Village of Hope Organization in 2011. As for Children's Art Village, it is a worthwhile cause devoted to helping young people who have been through tragic experiences be able to heal through the use of the different arts. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and am so grateful for the work that CAV does. The organization itself is well structured and completes its mission. Volunteers are kept in contact with the director and questions are always answered. The volunteers are well taken care of while serving at the camp. My experience in Ghana, Africa was hard (due to the nature of the work, culture shock, and the children's backgrounds) but very rewarding. The kids and the experience (as well as your team) quickly become a part of you. I hope to return as a volunteer again in the future!
I volunteered with Children's Art Village in the summer of 2011 and traveled to Ghana to do an art camp with the Village of Hope Orphanage. CAV is an incredible organization that truly focuses on aiding children in expressing their emotions as well as opening up their minds to creativity and fun! We had an excellent time, our team bonded so well and each child feels extremely loved and valued by the volunteers. When dealing with abandonment and trauma, Children's Art Village does a lovely job of creating a safe and colorful environment for the students. My experience was life changing and I am so thankful.
The inspired focus of Children's Art Village to address the creative spirits of children in need around the world in an effort to help them heal the wounds resulting from the trauma and abandonment they have suffered can be attributed to their leader, Mai Lai. She is the secret ingredient to their success and truly lives with her "heart on her sleeve" and embodies that spirit in all the time and hard work she invests in putting together her groups of volunteer teachers and supplies and leading them to the places in the world where they are most needed, all in an effort to help these, often forgotten, in-need children and addressing their needs for expression through art and music.
Childrens Art Village is an inspiring and well-structured organization from which my non-profit has learned a great deal. As a teaching artist, I have worked all over the globe with at-risk and orphaned youth, teaching filmmaking and acting. Mai's commitment to and execution of a sustainable programming model is like no other I have seen in this work. Children's Art Village not only empowers the children they work with, but also the entire volunteer body, staff, and surrounding village. The impact of their work has an unending ripple effect. Mai is both a business woman and a spiritual artist. She has laid a solid foundation, on which art, healing, and change may flourish.
I am a practicing pyschologist with a marriage family therapist (MFT) license. I have known the Director of the Children' Art Village, Mai Lai, since she finished her graduate studies in pyschology back in 2006. I am a mentor and sounding board to Mai. I have helped her to formulate ideas of to utilize art in various therapeutic processes. This in turn has been used with the programming by the Children's Art Village.
The heart of the Children’s Art Village is really the gift of imagination. Many of the children we encountered, taught, and spent quality time with have experienced some real trauma. The process of creating something beautiful with their very own hands, minds, and hearts speaks to something greater than the object or art form itself. It says that creative energy, endowed in us all, if actualized in a child, she/he has the power to re-imagine the world and their role in it. As a volunteer who has traveled with the Children Art Village to Ghana two times now, I have left that orphanage with a deeper and more profound sense of art-in-relationship. Classes are taught, but above all else, connections are fostered and friendships are made. Returning to the same faces made it harder to leave the second time. My fondest memory is when the kids performed that last day to the song “Stand By Me”. More than 50 children gathered around to shout on the top of their lungs the lyrics they had learned all week - “So darling, darling, stand by me! Whooah, stand by me!” All eyes and ears were on them. Maybe they were just performing what I had taught them with my guitar. But maybe, just maybe, through song they were declaring this to one another and demanding this from us. I hope you have the privilege as I have to join the Children’s Art Village in this artful, fun, and creative endeavor!