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NABU, Girl Rising and HP Announce "Dance of Courage"

Updated: May 2

And Celebrate With Franco Odhiambo, Founder of ChezaCheza

NABU in collaboration with Girl Rising and HP, proudly announces “Dance of Courage” - a new bilingual story in both English and Swahili. “Dance of Courage” follows the journey of Sam, a young boy in Kenya brimming with a passion for dance and an unwavering determination. Together with his friend Kaweria, a young girl from his school, he sets out to compete in a local dance contest and share his talents with the world, undeterred by obstacles standing in the way. Will they overcome these challenges and prepare to shine on the biggest stage? Read on to learn all about their #DanceofCourage!

NABU, a nonprofit on a mission to build children’s literacy around the world, is renowned for its culturally responsive stories told in mother tongue languages, with beautiful illustrations and compelling characters and storylines. Their original local language books support the reading skills of children in marginalized communities, making books available to millions of readers through their free digital platform. 

To celebrate the book’s launch, NABU, Girl Rising and HP are partnering with Franco Odhiambo, founder of ChezaCheza in Kenya, an organization that uses dance and art to promote social-emotional learning for children and help them thrive in schools. Franco personally knows the transformative power of dance, and its connections to children’s success in education because of his own courageous journey. 

Franco grew up in Kenya’s Kibera, one of the world’s largest informal settlement communities, where educational and other children’s services are often lacking. There, Girl Rising partners such as Big Picture Learning and ChezaCheza are leading innovative ways to develop the talents and skills of the many young people who live there.

Franco discovered a love of dance as a young boy, finding joy in expressing himself through movement and grooving to music he loved. But as his love of dancing grew, it led to conflict with his father, which culminated when he was 13 and his father forced Franco from home because he did not approve of his dancing.

On his own without money for school expenses, Franco had to leave his education. Yet, dance emerged as his lifeline, as he and his friend Collins captivated audiences with their performances at Kibera markets, eventually becoming local celebrities. One of the local market audience members recognized Franco's potential, and arranged for a scholarship for Franco, enabling him to attend an excellent private school outside Kibera. Despite the daily hardships of commuting, Franco flourished, establishing a groundbreaking dance program. Franco brought in Collins to help run the dance program and arranged for his friend to also have a scholarship.  They both graduated with the highest marks and went on to found ChezaCheza. Today ChezaCheza leads programs for thousands of young people, helping them to develop confidence and a sense of belonging - and courage!

“Dance allows you to face your fears,” said Franco.”And I believe whenever there is fear, it's only then you can find courage,” 

On International Dance Day, Franco celebrates the launch of “Dance of Courage”  with young people throughout Kibera and beyond by performing his own #DanceofCourage

And we hope you will join the festivities by sharing your #DanceofCourage on social media.

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