A love for her community

2019-03-19 06:01
Jada Johnson (third from left) with the children that come to the programme and volunteers.

Jada Johnson (third from left) with the children that come to the programme and volunteers.

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A Lavender Hill resident is juggling a lot of balls including studying and ensuring that children in her community are safe.

Jada Johnson (20) is a second year social work student at the University of Cape Town and she is the founder of Water Lily Arts and Crafts.

Water Lily Arts and Crafts was started in 2016 but registered as a non-profit organisation last year.

Johnson attended Norman Henshilwood High School and in her high school years she learned a lot about herself and discovered she is drawn to the world of art and connecting with others. With her love for the arts and people, she is now using that to ensure that children in her community are kept in a safe space through all the activities that they do. The group is open for everyone with the youngest being four-years-old and the eldest being 12-years-old.

“I saw the need in my community and had to act on it. The children needed to be in a safe space and do something positive and meaningful. I had the tools/supplies and the passion and we took it from there,” she says.

With a group of children, they met one Friday and everyone enjoyed it. Now the number has grown, and they still meet every Friday from 15:00 to 17:00 or sometimes longer depending on how the children feel and what they want to do on the day. Children from Lavender Hill, Overcome Heights and Seawinds attend the programme.

Using artistic mediums, they enlighten the children about issues in the community and more important, in the wider world out there. Part of the aim is to provide a space where children can feel safe to express themselves and explore their creativity.

“’We facilitate creative sessions with the children and teach them valuable lessons that they can carry with them every day. Some of these lessons include Children’s Rights, gratitude, being kind to others, taking care of the environment and respect for fellow human beings,” says Johnson.

The group has become a lifestyle for many and no one wants to miss a session. The meeting point is at Johnson’s home and they walk to the different venues where the sessions are held. “The people that live en route to our venues miss us when we don’t walk past on a Friday. They’re used to the chitter chatter and laughter coming from the group. I want the children to realise there is a different world outside of Lavender Hill and we want to equip them with the skills to function in society,” she says.

For Johnson, working with these children is a true blessing. “I have a big heart for connecting with others and all things creative. It is a dream to be able to work with these beautiful Lilies (our nickname for the children at the project). And when I walk down any street, I have barefoot child running to give me the biggest hug. What more can I ask for? This is a huge blessing to me,” she says.

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