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Slum Ballet Teaches Kids To Pivot Away From Poverty

Kibera is the largest slum in East Africa. It is home to an astonishing 1.5 million people living cramped in one square mile of poverty.

Many of the children living in Kibera are either orphans, or struggling to care for family members with HIV/AIDS. This incredible burden would be overwhelming for any adult, but somehow the resilience of hope shines through in the spirit of these children.

Part of that hope comes from classes like the ones being offered by Annos Africa. In partnership with Spurgeons Academy, a U.K.-based chairty, they teach ballet classes and other arts education to more than 800 children in Kenya.

This is Kibera. The largest slum in East Africa.

FREDRIK LERNERYDEvery Wednesday, students take the chairs out of a classroom and sweep the floor.

FREDRIK LERNERYDThey trade their school uniforms for brightly colored leotards,

FREDRIK LERNERYDAnd leap for the stars!

FREDRIK LERNERYD

FREDRIK LERNERYD

FREDRIK LERNERYDThe class is taught by Mike Wamaya, an award-winning teacher, who formerly toured in Europe as a dancer.

FREDRIK LERNERYDSince he began teaching, student drop-out rates and teenage pregnancy has decreased.

FREDRIK LERNERYDDance gives these children the inspiration they need to develop their confidence.

Children love ballet so much, they practice whenever they can.

FREDRIK LERNERYDBallet shoes are precious, the students carefully maintain and store the shoes.

Fredrik Lerneryd

Fredrik LernerydOlder students are given the chance to train one day a week at an upper-class ballet school in Karen.

Fredrik LernerydGood grades and dance are two things that launch these children out of the slums.

Fredrik LernerydWith enough hard work, some students move on to dancing with the Nairobi National Theatre.

Fredrik LernerydBallet can be the key to moving out of the Kibera slum and into better neighborhoods and boarding schools.

Fredrik LernerydLast month, the children performed "The Nutcracker" at Nairobi National Theatre.

Fredrik Lerneryd

With dance, these children are winning scholarships and leaping ahead in life.

To learn more about how you can donate to the charities supporting these children, visit Anno's Africa here and CRED Foundation here. To see more beautiful photos, please visit Fredrik Lerneryd's portfolio here.

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