Uniting the Children of Uganda Through Breakdance and Hip Hop Culture
Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU) started in February 2006 out of the belief that hip hop can be used as a tool to engage and empower disadvantaged youth in Kampala and other areas of Uganda. Its mission is to engage young people in elements of the hip hop culture to build leadership skills and promote social responsibility. The Project has attracted people from every walk of life and acts as a catalyst for building mutually beneficial relationships between people of different social status across Uganda and the rest of the world. It serves to teach people breakdancing and how to pass on those skills to others, as well as promoting leadership skills, social responsibility and positive change to members and local communities.
According to the World Bank, more than 30% of the population in Uganda is living below the poverty line Uganda is a rapidly growing nation with a very young population. An estimated 49% of people in Uganda are under the age of 14. After the introduction of Universal Primary Education in Uganda in 1997, Primary School enrollment increased to 82% but less than 20% of young people go on to complete further education. Development in Uganda has been greatly hampered by more than two decades of conflict between the Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the North and as a result, the opportunities available to young people are extremely limited. Unemployment levels for young people between the ages of 14 and 24 are estimated to be at 83%.
BPU is a youth centered project that works directly with young people of different backgrounds in Uganda, with a particular focus on those who are disadvantaged to give them hope and opportunities. The Project is centered on the belief that everyone can learn and everyone can teach and has the capacity to be a positive role model to others. The Project has been built around free breakdancing classes currently offered at the Sharing Youth Centre, Kampala and at Gulu Youth Centre, Gulu. In addition, it partners with other organizations to provide social and educational activities and services to its members.
- Bridging the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged and bringing people of different religious, tribal and social backgrounds together
- Promoting positive social responsibility
- Building peoples' leadership skills and self esteem
- Increasing access to formal and informal education
- Generating employment opportunities through private teaching and performances.
- Connecting local and international artists
Over the past four years, BPU has partnered with local and international organizations including: Oxfam, MS Uganda, In Movement, People Concern Children's Project, Danish Centre for Cultural Development, H.E.A.L.S (Gulu), Global Youth Partnership for Africa,Uganda FDNC, and USAID/NUTI, Straight Talk Foundation (STF) and carried out activities in orphanages, juvenile prisons, local and international Schools and youth and community centers.
In addition to the core activities in Kampala, members also carried out many outreach visits to towns in the East and North of Uganda. Over a period of 3 years, BPU members developed strong relationships with organizations and young people in Gulu and in May 2009 launched a branch of the Project, providing an opportunity for youth in the North to become BPU members and access regular free breakdancing lessons plus other project activities that promote positive social change.
BPU supports formal and non-formal education opportunities by advocating the importance of education and partnering with organizations to increase members' access to educational services such as life skills workshops, media and skills training, voluntary counseling and testing and advocacy training. Through the sale of BPU t-shirts, the Project also sponsors schools fees for vulnerable members.
From the initial three students who turned up at the first ever session, the project has grown through word of mouth, regular showcase performances and exposure on the world wide web to become a thriving organization with over 1000 members nationally and many more supporters around the world.
Contact Abramz Tekya (founder and director) for more information about the project or booking the dancers for workshops and shows.