The Jungle Theatre Company (JTC) has embarked on its new Jungle Performing Art Clubs Global Giving Campaign, which runs until Tuesday 31 December, with the aim of continuing its drama clubs next year. This “jungle-style” performing arts programme is run by professional artists for children between the ages of eight and 13 from diverse backgrounds. “They learn performing arts skills that they can use in all aspects of their lives; about cultural heritage through indigenous folk tales; life skills that will empower them to achieve their goals; to become role models, create and perform dynamic, relevant performing arts that link to local heritage as well as personal values and identity,” says JTC manager, Miranda Tait.Tait said the role players at JTC intend to keep the programme running next year to keep children away from the social ills prevalent in the underprivileged communities of Cape Town. “JTC believes that at the root of these issues is a disconnection with our heritage and a lack of self-esteem and identity. JTC’s drama clubs aim to address self-esteem and identity through a connection with the environment, performing arts and heritage,” she explains.By empowering the children to set and achieve their goals, allow them to become role models for others and hone their interpersonal skills, the long-term benefits of the programme are believed to be exponential.“Relationships between participants from different backgrounds and upbringing will improve, creating a better understanding of different cultures and acceptance thereof. Addressing social issues such as alcohol and drug abuse; anti-social behaviour; poverty; homelessness and crime – all very real issues in participants’ everyday lives – will give a sense of cultural awareness which is an important factor in the development of the self and one’s identity.”Tait encourages the public, especially those who are avid theatregoers, to support its campaign and the development of the children who take part in it.V Visit www.globalgiving.org/projects/jungle-performing-art-clubs/ for more information.