The Kayamoja ArtConnects Trust is a non profit organisation based in Namibia. It developed out of the founder's ArtConnects Project which was initiated under the theme: “What we learn to love, we learn to respect.”
Kayamoja ArtConnects creates the opportunity for (disadvantaged) local children to see, meet, learn about and connect with wildlife, nature & conservation through art.
Kayamoja ArtConnects aims to expose children to the need for and benefits of wildlife conservation during their formative years, to instill in them a lifelong love for wildlife and support for conservation.
Kayamoja ArtConnects aims to connect people with animals as well as people from different cultures and age groups with each other by becoming active in conservation through education and art.
The Trust is self-financing through the sale of wildlife art from renowned international artists.
Kayamoja ArtConnects is a win-win project:
The children have joy, experience love and education in nature and receive healing from their first bonding with animals. The traveling opens their horizons and they learn about things beyond the world of their daily lives.
What the children learn will sow seeds in their hearts and minds, an appreciation for the right awareness for wildlife and the need in this world for wildlife conservation.
The art helps the children to see the true beauty and to built up a personal understanding of the animals. The process in our painting lessons ask them gently to pay deeper attention and take a closer look… When we paint we have to truly internalise and let the understanding go through us from the learning input (passive) all the way through to an creative output (active). This process supports our idea to form a personal understanding and bond to the animal instead of just listening to a teaching about wildlife and conservation.
The chance to build up little friendships with domestic animals will light up a warm spot in their hearts to treat domestic animals with respect and love, to see them as individuals to make friend with, instead of just as an object for work and food in daily life. If one treats and treasures the dog on the street first it is a smaller step to appreciate the wild dog in the wild that we cannot see on a daily base. It makes appreciation for animals in general less abstract and more real to the children.
The children donating their artwork at the location or through our exhibition events for different Conservation Trusts and Foundations creates a sense of responsibility and how to start to become active for nature conservation.
What we as grownups plant today in these children’s hearts will make a difference to their young lives, and will grow into an awareness and appreciation within them for nature and wildlife.
Children growing up in a world without wildlife will create grownups without passion for wildlife and no sense of the importance of wildlife conservation. Poverty robs children of the opportunity to see indigenous wildlife in their own countries all over Africa.
Kayamoja ArtConnects assists with trips to the last wild places or local farms, where children get the chance to connect with animals, according to their age, on an educational, artistic and joyful level to build good memories and connect their minds and hearts with animals in a warm and healing way, which hopefully will foster a mindset to value animals as lives we are meant to care for, to admire and respect.
Furthermore Kayamoja helps to let cultural boundaries drop and makes children and adults from different cultures meet through the project and connect with each other through the art and the learning process about living in harmony with wildlife. We all need nature and we can all learn from each other when we are willing to connect and meet each other with respect.
Have a look at our photo gallery to get an impression of our work, sign up for our newsletter or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you like to stay updated about the artwork available for sale for Kayamoja or drop us a donation and do your part in helping children in need and support future wildlife conservation at the same time!
Thank you, for your support!
The story behind - conservation from the heart
I believe conservation begins with appreciation and education. This is where I see Kayamoja making a difference. It is about awakening a passion and empathy, stimulating awareness in the younger generations. I believe we need to inspire love for wildlife, because what we learn to love, we learn to respect. Every single mind and its future choices, no matter how small, united make the big difference.
The Kayamoja ArtConnects Trust is not only about the needs of the children themselves, it is very much about wildlife conservation as well. It is about the only sustainable way of real conservation: a personal relationship between humans and wildlife. It is to awaken a personal interest, to start creating personal stories. It is to stimulate a bond, a balance, a mutual respect, a togetherness.
A personal relationship towards wildlife is not about physical touch, it starts within the heart of the human being. It is an awareness which changes your thoughts and raises appreciation for the last wild animals existing on this planet. And in our disconnected world we need triggers to reengage this relationship to grow.
We all know that for sustainable wildlife conservation the value of wildlife for communities and countries must be recognized and made use of to its fullest potential, to let us people participate out of our own interests.
If our children stay hungry because of wildlife eating our harvest we will certainly not protect these animals. And we are becoming so many humans on this planet that in future conflicts of this nature are naturally growing and not decreasing. So there is great need for practical solutions and communication within the communities and countries.
If one learns that these animals will bring wealth through tourism and hunting tourism it is an easy way to understand the need of conservation and makes one willing to participate in the battle for the animal's survival. Because we will get something out of it,- for ourselves and for our families.
But I believe there is a different important approach if we want to still have elephants roaming free for our children to see. We must awake unconditional love for wildlife; selfless love and passion, and not only a system where wildlife represents a money value for the country, for tourism industry, for hunting industry...
In the reality of this world thats all true and important for a sustainable future concept for people willing to grant wildlife space... but we can do more than this. Because this is not where conservation from the heart starts. This is practical conservation only. And I am getting tired of people looking at animals and start talking in Dollar about their value.
It is time to engage a selfless approach towards wildlife as well; where it is about the caring for the animal itself as a living being on this planet. To understand its right and purpose to be here as the animal itself not as the source of something for us human beings to make use of, just because we are the most powerful roaming creature on this planet… I believe it is time to work on our selfish human nature when we approach wildlife and wildlife conservation.
I strongly believe the real needed change in this world starts within the heart not with the interest.
And in return we will get back something much greater than any financial wealth can ever provide, because we tend to forget that by getting disconnected with our hearts from nature we are not only destroying our planet we are busy destroying our own soul and our mental and physical health. Something that is absolutely impossible to value within a money system we tend to value the whole world against.
Thats why it is important to create the opportunity for great encounters and real memories with animals in young age, what will grow into real appreciation for what the animals truly are: an amazing gift and enrichment to this planet and not our property. And especially where poverty rules this is a difficult and important task, because here often the animals value is measured against the survival of one's own family and so can only fall short.
The purpose will become clear when with open eyes, we appreciate and are willing to learn about and start to understand the purposes and the „bigger picture“ of everything.
First it is about a personal relationship within one’s soul towards wildlife. First it is about to listen and to (re)connect.
Annika Funke Barnard