PPR children get kick out of the arts


The children, including Damien (left), performing their upbeat Tari Gempak.

CHILDREN living at the River Road People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Penang unleashed their creative side through an arts showcase called Gempak 100.

Their exciting “Wayang Bayang” and “Tari Gempak” performances that told stories about their lives at the flats received a positive response from the audience, who comprised family members, neighbourhood folk as well as outsiders.

The children aged eight to 15 also put up a photography exhibition featuring interesting snapshots of surrounding areas.

For the group of 29, the event held at the flats was the culmination of five months of learning as part of the Arts in the Community project by Arts-ED, a local non-profit organisation.

Programme coordinator Chen Yoke Pin said 14 facilitators held workshops every weekend from January to May.

“The aim was to give children from the B40 group an outlet to express themselves creatively, develop soft skills, give them confidence and teach them to be aware of issues within their surroundings.

“Throughout the process, they came out of their shells and this will help them grow into well-rounded adults,” said Chen.

Among the participants were Muhamad Fairoz Taskeen Syazwan, 12, and Ahmad Hazrie Aqmal Ahmad Zurit, 14, who both joined the photography workshops.

“I’ve always loved looking at photos and was delighted to be given a camera.

“I even learned how to develop my own photos,” Fairoz shared.

Ahmad added: “The photography workshops made me realise that there are many interesting things in my area.”

Siblings Muhamad Rayyan Razeqie Rohaimi and Muhamad Damien Zaffryel Rohaimi also said they benefitted from the project.

Rayyan, 11, who opted to join the “Wayang Bayang” segment, said. “I really enjoyed building the puppets and then using them to tell stories.”

Damien, 12, chose to take part in the Tari Gempak activity.

“Before this, I just danced as I like. But now, I know the proper dance techniques and want to continue to learn more as the facilitators made the art very interesting,” he said.

Chen added that the recent event was only the first phase and there would be more activities to come.

The programme was run in collaboration with Penjana, MyCreative, art advocacy group Cendana, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and the National Art Gallery with support of the Penang government.

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