He went, he saw and although he didn’t quite conquer, Michael Wamaya remains a star in the eyes of millions of people worldwide – and a testament to the power of ordinary people to effect change.
He was one of the top 10 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize that was looking to award $1 million to someone exceptional; a teacher who has managed to make a difference and a contribution to the profession that they love so much.
Michael, as a dance teacher, was a key figure in one of 2016’s most heart warming stories – the Kibera Dance Academy in the heart of the slum:
Home to 700,000 people, Kibera is an unlikely setting for a ballet school. With the help of Michael’s dedicated teaching, under the tin roofs of community buildings, students have become accomplished dancers, winning scholarships to further their education.
Over Christmas some performed The Nutcracker at the Kenya National Theatre. With Michael’s tutoring and mentorship, this alternative arts project has provided a safe space for orphans and vulnerable children from the slums to grow; develop their skills and access opportunities. Michael’s encouragement of pride and self-awareness amongst his young students has also helped turn around school dropout rates and teenage pregnancy rates for those attending his lessons.
The story behind the school and Michael’s role in it was widely publicized through a number of international publications and media, including Al Jazeera, The Guardian and The Independent.
The school offers more than just the opportunity to help move young people away from poverty, or from some of the negative influences they might find themselves privy to, when not in class or asleep – it also works to help the young students develop a great sense of self worth, allows them to aspire to greatness – shows them how dedication and the will to succeed can lead them to even higher levels of achievement than they may have previously dreamed of.
This is an unlikely ballet school, because it’s situated in Kibera, Nairobi, a slum home to 700,000 people. With the help of a dedicated teacher, students here have become accomplished dancers, winning scholarships to further their education. Over Christmas some performed The Nutcracker at Kenya National Theatre
Posted by The Guardian on Saturday, January 7, 2017
Find out more about the top 10 finalists for the Global Teachers Prize for 2016/2017 here
Follow Mike Wamaya’s journey in 2017 through his Facebook page and get to know more about how you can help support dance in Kibera
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