Our 2017 team has already reached the one-week countdown to the start of the 5th annual Sunu Thiossane summer arts and English immersion! We have spent the past week registering students, planning curriculum for the women’s empowerment theme, and checking out the program location. Sunu 2017 will be held at the SOS Village d’Enfants, a non-governmental organization in a suberb of Dakar that provides 150 children with safe housing, a vibrant environment, and education. We will be working with the Sunu kids in a corner of the large community in an area with nine classrooms and spaces for basketball and soccer, all surrounding a garden-dotted courtyard.
This year’s theme is women’s empowerment, chosen for its universal message that will lead to thoughtful discussions amongst students and staff. As the Sunu community reflects on women’s empowerment and feminism in and out of the classroom, the theme will serve as the guiding current for the many artistic projecs that will be worked on throughout the month of August. We hope that all of us, from New York to Dakar, will leave the program at the end of August with a deeper and more global understanding of women and the multitude of roles that they play in the social, political, economic, and artistic domains.
Now as we tweak the daily schedule and prepare the classrooms, we wait for the rest of the staff to arrive. The New Yorkers, some of them returning to Sunu and some first-timers, fly into the city throughout the week. Our team is composed of dancers, from modern to hip-hop and popping, visual artists who practice graffiti, outdoor design, and painting, musicians both classical and jazz, and more. As we wait for the program to begin, we look forward more and more each day to the coming together of the students and staff, and our sharing of creativity and a passion for the arts and humanity.