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Tuzina's video poster

Using dance to connect with women and children in Uganda in order to equip them to work through trauma and celebrate their culture. Read more

New York, NY Dance
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pledged of $20,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on March 8, 2012.

Using dance to connect with women and children in Uganda in order to equip them to work through trauma and celebrate their culture.

New York, NY Dance
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About this project

*Update on March 8th*

How can we ever thank you, our beloved backers, for your generosity, encouragement, and support? Because of you, we are OFFICIALLY headed to Lukodi in May! But please don't stop the donations just yet--we still have a bit more to raise. Our goal is to reach $21,000 because it costs $3,500 per person (with six people going in total). Even MORE amazing would be if we could raise enough extra money to give the gift of music while we're there: ChildVoice International has a policy of not allowing interns to bring gifts that cause dependency (books, money, etc.). However, they would love it if we were able to purchase instruments while we are there to give to the women and children to use during dance classes before and after we leave. We would also love to be able to help Averi buy a nice camera to film the documentary that we would like to enter into film festivals to further spread awareness. Please spread the word that any extra funds raised over the next 18 hours will be just as crucial as the first $20,000! And THANK YOU again for your incredible outpouring of love!

Our Story

Tuzina is a group of five dancers in the Fordham/Ailey Dance BFA program and a filmmaker from Columbia University who are partnering with ChildVoice International in an arts exchange program. ChildVoice International has established a village of refuge and care for former child wives who were abducted by the LRA in order to meet their basic needs and provide them an education. Tuzina is dedicated to promoting personal recovery and renewal through the arts for orphans and former child soldiers in war-affected communities of East and Central Africa.

Tuzina will travel to Lukodi, Uganda from May 25th to June 13th in 2012 in order to collaborate in dance classes and performances with the women of ChildVoice’s Lukome Center and children of the surrounding communities. During our trip, we will teach dance classes as well as dance pieces which they will perform for their community. Our dance classes and choreography will be rooted in modern technique, but we will emphasize its use in providing the women and children with an outlet for the emotions they have experienced, particularly in response to trauma. Creative improvisation dance classes will give them the opportunity to develop their personal style of movement in order to better express these emotions as well. The members of Tuzina will take East African dance classes from them. At the end of each week, Tuzina, together with the women and children of the Lukome Center and the surrounding areas, will give collaborative performances for the community.

The Impact

Tuzina hopes first and foremost to inspire the women of the Lukome Center and the children of the community to use dance as a tool to work through the traumatic events they have experienced and to celebrate their culture. Tuzina believes that each person has an important personal story to tell, and we want to enable them to tell it using the universal language of dance. We also want to raise awareness about the issues that continue to impact the lives of these women, such as the war against the Lord’s Resistance Army. We will therefore document the work we do with them and create a student film emphasizing what we learned about these conflicts. When we return to the U.S., we will hold screenings of the film. We will also choreograph and perform works based upon our interactions with the women and children.

Tuzina is founded upon the idea that we do not know the best method of dancing. Instead, we hope to learn from the women and children what kind of dance springs up intuitively into their bodies and reflects their cultural values. Keeping this in mind, we plan to develop a connection with the community in order to establish a lasting arts exchange. This trip will be the first step of a long-term goal of beginning one or more arts schools in post-conflict zones of East Africa. Over the coming years, Tuzina will periodically return to the Lukome Center and other communities in order to continue the work it has begun in those areas. As soon as resources and artists are available, we will establish arts schools with the intention of empowering children affected by social and political conflicts to express themselves, remember their history, and celebrate their culture.

What We Need & What You Get

In total, we need to raise $21,000. Each team member needs to receive $3,500 in order to cover every cost of the trip, including airfare, transportation, lodging, food, water, and visas. However, your money reaches much further than providing these necessities for our team. We are working every day toward being able to effectively teach and collaborate with the women and children. 

For example, I am taking an independent study course this semester with Professor Amir Idris at Fordham University entitled "Contemporary Uganda." Throughout the course of the class we will explore the history and politics of Uganda, the background of Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army, and children's education and rights issues. During our bi-monthly meetings, I will share what I've learned with the rest of the team. Cara Gallo, dance therapist with Embodied Psychotherapy, will be teaching us an in-depth workshop in order to prepare us to teach dance classes to victims of trauma. We'll also hold several classes with children in after-school programs here in NYC to develop our teaching skills.

Your donation is of long-term value as well. This exchange program is intended to help us gain a personal understanding of the needs of the communities of Lukodi and the way in which the women and children respond to our classes and interactions. We will use this experience to begin developing a comprehensive model for future rehabilitative arts schools that we hope to found, including buildings, faculty, curriculum, etc. We will use the documentary to spread the word about the effects of armed conflict on these communities and our idea for how to counteract them.

Because ChildVoice International is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, your donation will be tax-deductible unless you donate anonymously.

Other Ways You Can Help

If donating money doesn't fit into your budget right now, we understand. You can still help us out by spreading the word about our project! Like our page on Facebook. Email links to this page and our website to family, colleagues, and friends. Contact us and we'll give you brochures and posters to distribute in your area. The more you spread the word about us, the more effective our program will be in using dance to educate and protect children in post-conflict areas of East Africa!

Please help us reach our goal! If we don't, we won't receive any of the money donated.

The Team: 

KateAshley Clarke - Dancer

Kassandra Cruz - Dancer

Averi Israel - Filmmaker

Janelle Jones - Dancer

Virginia Preston - Dancer

Monica Woods - Dancer


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    A very heartfelt thanks from all of us for your support. We couldn't do what we do without you! Your name will appear on our acknowledgements page on our website.

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    Membership to an exclusive blog that will be updated daily during our trip with journal entries and photos (available for viewing either during or immediately following our trip depending on internet connection there).

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    The above, plus a DVD copy of the documentary we'll film during our trip.

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    All of the above, plus an outtakes bonus feature on your copy of the documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage.

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    All of the above, plus you will be mentioned in the special thanks in the credits of our documentary. In addition, you will receive an invitation to an exclusive screening of our documentary in New York City and an after party immediately following it. (If you are outside of the NYC area, you will receive three framed photos of your choice).

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    All of the above, plus you will receive a private performance in New York City given by Tuzina featuring pieces we choreographed based on our interactions with the women and children as well as East African dances we learned during the trip. (If you are outside of the NYC area, you will receive a DVD copy of a private performance filmed just for you). You will also be listed as a producer in our documentary.

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Funding period

- (40 days)