Lalela project



Lalela Project provides educational arts to youth affected by extreme poverty, sparking creative thinking and awakening the entrepreneurial spirit.

Lalela Project drives positive social change through an innovative curriculum of Ideas, Art and Music (I AM). Lalela is a Zulu word that means “to listen”, and it is at the heart of what Lalela Project does; by listening to children’s individual stories, and the communities’ needs, we can understand their challenges and, in turn, provide creative solutions.

Lalela boyIn the Western Cape, South Africa, Lalela Project provides education through the arts to children grades one through twelve in a safe space during the vulnerable after-school hours and holiday periods. We use the power of the arts to help students navigate a clear path that is often cluttered with the hazards of extreme poverty, including gang violence, HIV / AIDS, and physical and substance abuse. Lalela Project’s community-based programs deliver year-round arts education and leadership workshops for at-risk youth ages 6 and up. Our primary communities are Masiphumelele, Imizamo Yethu, Hangberg, Manenburg and Nyanga.

In July 2013, Lalela Project partnered with the David Rattray Foundation to bring our arts curriculum to children in rural Kwazulu Natal. And in October 2012, Lalela Project completed construction of its I AM Peace Center for the Arts on the campus of Hope North, a living and learning community center for former child soldiers, orphans, and other vulnerable children in Northern Uganda.

Lalela girlThrough our arts curriculum and its critical messaging component, we ignite imagination and teach children how to map and manifest their dreams and goals, launching a possibility of a different future for themselves and their communities. Research has shown that educational arts is closely linked to academic achievement, social and emotional development, and civic engagement. We engage and empower youth in creative thinking and solutions. We believe that innovative and creative young people will contribute to social and economic development.


1. Learn more:

2. Visit Lalela Project programs in the Western Cape: contact Cat Rieper at

3. Sponsor a Lalela Project classroom: contact May Malik at

Lalela Project, founded by Andrea Kerzner, received its 501c3 non-profit status in New York in 2008 and began providing arts education to youth affected by conflict in Darfur, Uganda and the DRC. In July 2010, during the World Cup, when children were out of school for 6 weeks, we partnered with the South African National Gallery (SANG) to provide arts education to youth from disadvantaged communities. Lalela Project Trust was registered as a non-profit organization in South Africa in February 2011.

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