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TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH ARTS EDUCATION

The arts can transcend boundaries, bridge communities, and instill values, contributing to a more empathic and empowered society. Our programs seek to explore how the arts can be supported in community spaces, fostering psychosocial and educational outcomes for individual growth and societal enrichment.

1500+

Annual Workshop Participants

16

Teaching Artists

14

Local Partner Organizations

4

Years of
Impact

Mission

Our mission is to cultivate a vibrant and inclusive arts community in Gaborone, Botswana, where the transformative power of arts education becomes a catalyst for individual growth and societal enrichment.  

 

Committed to fostering creativity and self-expression, we provide accessible and diverse artistic opportunities for people of all ages.  By emphasizing the intersection of arts and life skills development, we also seek to nurture critical life skills such as leadership, collaboration, and resilience.  

 

We aim to inspire a lifelong love for the arts, equipping individuals with the tools to explore and develop their unique talents.  Through educational programs and community initiatives supported by local artists, we strive to break down barriers to participation and empower individuals to unlock their full potential. 

 

At the heart of our mission, we create safe spaces where everyone, regardless of age, background, or ability, can find their voice, express their creativity, and engage in a lifelong journey of self-discovery.  Through the transformative power of arts education, we envision a world where individuals are enriched by the arts and equipped with the essential life skills necessary for personal success and positive community impact. 

MISSION

📍 Gaborone, Botswana

As of 2021, Botswana grapples with a significant public health crisis, ranking third globally in adult HIV prevalence at 18.6% (World Bank Open Data).  The profound implications of the HIV/AIDS epidemic have exacerbated societal disparities, particularly affecting the nation's children. 

 

The toll on Botswana's younger generation is unmistakable, as 35% of children fall into the category of OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) (Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children), 2019).  This alarming statistic stands as a poignant testament to the epidemic’s enduring impact on the vulnerable and impressionable segments of the population.  Adding to the complexity, 33.3% of individuals in the lowest wealth quintile in Botswana are children.  This underscores the intricate web of challenges faced by the most economically disadvantaged, where the burdens of both poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic converge.

 

These statistics underline the urgent need for targeted interventions and comprehensive strategies to address the multifaceted impact of the epidemic on different segments of the population in Botswana.  It is crucial not only to focus on medical interventions but also to address the socio-economic dimensions, ensuring that the nation's response is holistic, inclusive, and capable of alleviating the burdens imposed by HIV/AIDS on the most vulnerable.  The call for concerted efforts to mitigate the broader societal implications of the epidemic is more pressing than ever.

 

By recognizing the transformative power inherent in creative expression, the arts can emerge as a powerful and multifaceted tool in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana.  Leveraging this distinct power, we can foster community understanding, resilience, and positive change to address this intricate public health and economic challenge.

Botswana Map
Botswana

📍

IMPACT

Real-Life Impact

Our commitment to arts education has yielded transformative results in Gaborone, Botswana.  Our programs have empowered individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to unleash their creative potential, fostering personal growth and community enrichment.  

 

Since 2016, we have witnessed the following impactful outcomes:

Individual Empowerment

97% of participants reported gaining newfound confidence and a sense of empowerment in expressing themselves. 

Community Partnerships

We have established 14 partnerships with local organizations, schools, and businesses, amplifying the reach and impact of our arts education initiatives.  Our initiatives promote inclusivity, understanding, and collaboration among diverse groups.

Access to Arts Education

Through strategic partnerships and accessibility initiatives, we have increased access to arts education by reducing barriers and targeting underserved populations.

Life Skills Development

Our programs focus on building critical life skills in leadership, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.

Cultural Enrichment

Our events and programs have helped elevate the vibrant culture of Gaborone by celebrating local artistic talent of all ages and backgrounds.

Positive Social Change

Community-led projects and initiatives have emerged from our programs, creating a ripple effect of positive social change and community betterment.

Reflecting on our impact, we remain dedicated to fostering a community where the arts can lead to personal development, cultural enrichment, and positive societal change.  Together, we continue to create space for creativity, empowerment, and inclusivity in Gaborone.

Local Community Partners

Since 2016, Creative Borders has been building an extensive network of community partners, which empowers us to impact more than 1500 individuals annually in Gaborone.  Our collaborative efforts span a broad spectrum, encompassing local primary and high schools, universities, and organizations that align with our mission.  

 

Central to our initiatives is the commitment to maximizing our outreach by harnessing and guiding the local resources of our partner organizations.  Whenever we deliver a workshop at one school, our dedicated approach ensures that we actively seek opportunities to extend these valuable experiences to other institutions, amplifying the reach and impact of our programs.

 

Our current partners include the Maru-a-Pula School, Ambrose Academy, Botswana Teen Club, SOS Village, Mebala Youth Studios, Moselewapula, Northside Primary School, and Thornhill Primary School. Over the years, Creative Borders has experienced exponential growth in its impact, establishing safe spaces that cater to individuals of all ages.  Our initiatives are pivotal in bridging vital connections and resources within Gaborone, contributing to its people’s overall well-being and development.

Are you a Botswana organization interested in this program?

Maru-a-Pula
Maitisong
Ambrose Academy
SOS Village
Teen Club
University of Botswana

Moselewapula

Thornhill
Mebala Youth Studios
Northside Primary School
2024 Program

What's next for Creative Borders?

March 2025
Program

Building on the impact of our 2023 program, we are thrilled to announce our fifth outreach program in Gaborone, Botswana.  For two weeks in March 2025, a team of three Teaching Artists will lead daily movement and drama workshops at (A) the Maru-a-Pula School and (B) the Ambrose Academy.

 

This year, Creative Borders is partnering with Arts Ignite, another global arts education organization, to inaugurate a groundbreaking professional development program for local artists (C).  This revolutionary initiative will support the next generation of arts educators, further fostering artistic growth and sustainability of future arts education in Gaborone.

OBJECTIVES

(35 total hours)

(A) Maru-a-Pula School

As a leader in Gaborone, the Maru-a-Pula School (MaP) has been critical to our success and growth.  In 2025, we are excited to continue extending opportunities to the students at MaP through daily workshops.  These three-and-a-half-hour daily sessions, using drama and dance as catalysts, will serve as a nurturing ground for students’ artistic expression while simultaneously fostering the development of essential life skills, including leadership, collaboration, and resilience.

 

Founded on the principles of service and equality, Maru-a-Pula has dedicated itself to the betterment of the nation of Botswana.  In 2005, in response to the pressing challenges posed by HIV/AIDS and poverty, the school initiated the Maru-a-Pula OVC Scholarship Program.  This program is a beacon of hope, offering opportunities to local children affected by Botswana’s most prominent social and economic challenges. 

 

At Maru-a-Pula, the student community (ages 13-18) is a testament to the school's inclusive mission and commitment to addressing Botswana’s broader issues.  Maru-a-Pula strives to create a positive impact by empowering the younger generation and fostering a future marked by equality and shared prosperity.

(9 total hours)

(B) Ambrose Academy

Since our inaugural 2016 program, Creative Borders has forged a transformative partnership with a pioneering organization for children with special needs, the Ambrose Academy.  The Academy provides children with disabilities (ages 6-15) access to quality education and therapeutic services, empowering them to envision a better future and become self-reliant contributors to the nation.

 

Our collaborative efforts have created specialized 30-minute lessons that leverage movement, music, and storytelling to enhance mind-body connections, coordination, and communication for the students.  Over the years, our approach has proven instrumental in providing students with new outlets to express emotions and frustrations positively.  Our dance and drama-based lessons continue to translate into improvements in the students’ overall social behavior, life skills training, and academic achievements. 

 

Remarkably, the Ambrose Academy has experienced substantial growth since 2016, culminating in a new facility that is equipped with modern learning technologies.  This advancement has enabled us to continue our lessons remotely, maintaining our commitment to students’ development.  In late 2023, we launched our first pre-recorded lesson facilitated by the Ambrose teachers, building on our work earlier in the year.  This milestone marks a pivotal moment in our ongoing partnership, setting the stage for continued collaboration and impactful contributions to students' social and educational journeys.

(40 total hours)

(C) Professional Development

In 2025, our new partner, Arts Ignite, will lead a groundbreaking Teaching Artist training program designed to empower local artists to become educators and leaders within the community of Gaborone.  This meticulously crafted 40-hour training program will be guided by the Teaching Artist team. It will unfold alongside the workshops for younger students, ensuring a holistic and immersive learning experience that will be supported by virtual check-ins after the program concludes.

 

We will select four to five participants for this inaugural opportunity through an application process.  Aimed at nurturing the future leaders of Gaborone's artistic community, this training will equip candidates with the skills and resources essential for educational excellence and community leadership.  

 

We will compensate for their active participation to recognize the dedication and support the commitment of the selected candidates.  We remain committed to fostering a dynamic and supportive environment that propels local artists toward success in both their artistic endeavors and educational leadership roles.  

Are you a Botswana artist interested in this program?

WHY THE ARTS?

As a dynamic form of communication, the arts impact lives by evoking emotions, challenging perspectives, and inspiring profound cultural and societal shifts.  The arts serve as a powerful conduit for creativity, self-expression, and exploration of human experiences. 

 

People in Gaborone have few opportunities for creative exploration, social collaboration, and self-expression.  Yet, many significant experiences and shared interests hold the potential to unite people, increase empathy, and ignite social empowerment.

 

The arts allow communities to tell stories, share their values and perspectives on the world, and insights into complex issues.  The lack of opportunities in the arts is not just a problem today but a persistent and enduring injustice that will have intergenerational impacts.  What people know of their history and priorities for centuries to come will be dictated by who is telling their story now. 

 

Unfortunately, the people of Gaborone are unable to fully benefit from the arts due to factors such as (1) limited opportunities for people to explore their skills in the arts, exacerbated by poverty and a lack of access to arts education, and (2) a shortage of skilled educators to guide and support learners interested in the arts, hindering the development of their skills and limiting their opportunities.

 

The arts can transcend boundaries, bridge communities, and instill values, contributing to a more empathic and empowered society.  Our programs seek to explore how the arts can be supported in community spaces, fostering psychosocial and educational outcomes for individual growth and societal enrichment.

Program Testimonials

"Creative Borders helped me regain confidence.  It became a safe space to be myself again and not worry about what others think of me, and I will carry this experience for the rest of my life.” 

 

“Creative Borders taught me about the freedom of expression, knowing that I have it in me to move and share my light with others.” 

 

“Creative Borders taught me about the process.  It wasn’t about being perfect but being in touch with ourselves, making everything worthwhile, and making bold choices.” 

 

“It was the best time I have ever had.” 

 

“Every day, I looked forward to the workshop because I knew we were going to do something that's out of the box, that's going to expand and challenge our creative minds, and having to do that as a group made it more fun.” 

 

“It was a beautiful exchange, learning from the team. I am truly grateful to have been part of it.” 

 

“Thank you for taking your time and visiting us. You will inspire lots of people just like you inspired us!” 

 

“It was a collective safe space that allowed me to rediscover myself.”

 

“Thanks for the lesson.  It really opened my eyes!”


“I am really grateful that I got to share an amazing experience.”


“It opened my mind to a lot more than just moving my body to music aimlessly but the emotion and intention behind it.”


“It helped me build my confidence, make connections, and discover new ways to create.” 

 

“The way you communicated with the students, made everybody feel welcomed, and motivated and encouraged others in the group was all just beautiful.” 

 

“I enjoyed the expertise, skills, professionalism, energy, and joy you brought to our schools.  I enjoyed listening to our students' feedback, saying it was the best day of their life, enjoying the workshops, their smiles, and their engagement.”

WHY THE ARTS
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