Arts to End Slavery 2016 has now officially launched! On the 28th of May we had a community event at Mathare, an informal settlement. The weeks leading to the event were busy and even the morning of the event, we had an interview at Ghetto Radio and Korogocho where we were able to talk about human trafficking and A2ES.

The event started at 12pm and lasted until 4pm. We had rented a field for our use and set up tents to draw people in. We had around 20 volunteers walking around Mathare inviting people to attend, handing out pamphlets about human trafficking and talking to people about the issue.
Around one o’clock we walked to a nearby public bathroom that is by a bridge crossing over Mathare River. There we had two amazing graffiti artists, Smoki and Bebeto, ready to paint a mural to raise awareness about human trafficking even when we’re gone. The mural included a definition of human trafficking in Sheng and a depiction of modern day slavery. It looked amazing!

At two o’clock the party started at the field! We had singers and rappers from Mathare performing as well as a duo from Kakuma refugee camp and a Kenyan band that sang beautiful acapella. We also had three amazing artists doing spoken word. In between the performances we had an energetic MC that on top of hyping up the crowd, talked about human trafficking and what to do if someone thought they or someone they knew were being trafficked. We also had a Kenyan painter, Onyis Martin, painting live and this drew many curious eyes to see the process.

The biggest hit, however,was without a doubt the face painting for children. As soon as the first child got pink and blue painted on their cute little cheeks, a line of nearly a hundred children emerged in just few minutes. When you added juice and cookies to that mix, the children’s excitements could have not been any higher!

All in all the day went great and all expectations were met. At 4pm you could see happy but tired children wander back to their homes with big smiles and smudged face paints on their faces. Following the Mathare residents example, the whole A2ES team headed home tired but above all happy for how well everything had gone. Our expectations were to reach at least 500 people and this estimations was met. All in all, a great success and we can’t wait to move to the next steps of A2ES!