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Uniting the Children of Uganda Through Breakdance and Hip Hop Culture

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Claire Lewis

Program Manager
Oxfam

Claire Lewis has worked for Oxfam for nearly 20 years and aptly describes it as "one of the most progressive, thoughtful and dynamic organizations to be involved with." Oxfam has been fighting poverty for over 65 years and is one of the most experienced development agencies in the world. Oxfam supports local solutions to poverty, taking advice from local people to ensure real needs are addressed and working mostly in partnership with community-based organizations. Oxfam believes that the best people to help poor communities are community members themselves.

For the last four years, Claire has been working and living in Africa and has had the honor and privilege to travel to Sudan, Chad, Congo, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Malawi and many other hot spots around the world. During a visit to Los Angeles, a friend introduced her to Nabil Elderkin a photographer who had also directed several popular hip hop music videos and who also had interests in Africa. As part of their conversation, Claire mentioned that her sister had been working in Uganda with a young hip hop dancer (Abramz) who was inspiring a whole community of young people - from street kids to child soldiers - to get up and dance. They talked about how his energy was addictive, and how someone like him should be seen as a real heroic figure of a young Africa.

"Casually, I said to Nabil that he should drop in and see us in Kampala one day. I thought I'd never see him again," said Claire. "A few months later, I got a call out of the blue: Nabil was on tour with the Black Eyed Peas in Johannesburg and was catching a plane to Uganda to come and see us."

Nabil's trip to Uganda and subsequent meeting with Abramz led to a growing friendship and served as the catalyst for creating Bouncing Cats.