Mami Wata: Heal Africa the Children of War through Art
Project Duration: December 2013 – April 2014
The Mami Wata Project is an independent project that will work side by side with integral and heroic Non Profit Organizations in the field of both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in a collaborative effort to help rebuild the lost hope and confidence of the children who had their innocence stolen away.
During the five months in the field I had the honor to work with over 800 former child-soldiers, recently freed sex-slaves and children of war. Powerful stories of heroism emerged where both youth and adults alike chose to change the course of their lives, releasing the attachment to a story of victimhood and courageously painting a blank canvas of endless potential, with their hopes and dreams! WE HAVE DONE IT!!! DREAM BIG and LIVE IT ALL!!! Read the blogs to feel the depth of what transpired over the course of this project and beyond!
The Mami Wata Art Therapy Project worked directly with youth in Goma, DR Congo who have been survived the war that claimed 5.5+ million lives; 2.5 million of the deceased have been children. Mr. Swatez also led the project into Pader and Lira of the Northern regions of Uganda, near the Southern Sudanese border. 60,000 children have been abducted to be used as child soldiers and sex slaves. Since the peace treaties of 2006 and the relocation of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) into neighboring countries, thousands of former child soldiers wander the streets of Uganda with only their traumas and pains to accompany them. Numerous studies show that art therapy can be a vital addition in the journey of rehabilitation, reintegration and the empowerment of victims with severe trauma.
It can be seen in the work of Mr. Swatez, in both first and third world countries, that his teaching methods have been highly effective, opening the doors for healing through positive expression, while laying a foundation for others to follow in his footsteps. “It is not about parachuting in and out for an adventure; it is about sharing the voice of freedom, and improving the quality of life, with as many people in the world as possible.” Benjamin says.