What if your only option of getting a better life is to just dance? Hard to imagine, I have to admit but for some kids, it's reality. For some kids, the only way out of poverty or getting off the streets is pretty much to dance their way out of it. Oluyole Omolayo Oluwaseyi, a woman from Nigeria is the one who makes that happen. She is the CEO of The Dream Nurture Foundation and the founder of the Dream Catchers Dance Academy. One of her main objectives is to get the kids off the streets and give them an education just with the help of dance.
I talked with her about her project, how it all started, what the kids mean to her and what big goals she wants to achieve. Read below to find out more.
I founded the project by myself. I used to live on the streets too and I used to wish someone would have helped me during that time. At some days, I dreamed Jennifer Lopez or Janet Jackson would come up and help me. I really loved them and I used to watch their dance videos so I could learn how to dance like them. Even though nobody came and helped me, I decided I’d like to help other children. I decided that I want to use dance to help them and to get a better life.
Dream Catchers Dance Academy t is about using dance to empower children from the streets and from poor homes. The goal is to give them hope and give their life a meaning so that they can make a life for themselves just through dancing. It is all about helping despondent kids, with the aim of sending them to school through dance. It all started in 2015.
It all started when I was little and I had a dance group called the "Victorious Dancers" at Oyingbo. They were also despondent, but we had the opportunity to be chosen as one of the entertainers at one of Omotola Jalade Ekeinde’s nonprofit fundraising concerts. During that time I was taking school and training very seriously, but the other children were lagging behind. I wasn’t happy so was the leader. I told them to get serious with their studies if they want to dance at Omotola’s event. They got serious immediately and I saw it was a way to work with them. So I used the same strategy for "The Dream Catchers" and it worked and is still working.
It all started with just my salary. Most of the funding now is from my salary and funds that we get when we go to perform at events. Besides that, we also try to use crowdfunding to get funds. We are really hoping that the financial aspect gets better and that we can get good sponsors as soon as possible.
Our major challenge is finances. The children live with me but our space is very small. We also rehearse outside our house. We don’t have a proper studio and sometimes we have to walk distances to get to events or squeeze ourselves inside a car. We need money to fund a better living space, to get a dance studio and a traveling bus. Sometimes it also gets hard to pay school fees and we usually have to manage our food because we don’t know where the next meal is coming from. So we eat the one we have prudently and in portions.
My plan is to help more kids and give them an opportunity for a better life. I want them to see and experience that dance has changed their life. For them, I hope that one day they can be on stage with artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, and co. That they can perform on stages like Coachella, the Grammys etc. I also hope that the story of the children on this project maybe inspire more children out there and that the whole project will be able to help thousands of children and continue to be a source of hope for every child that seems hopeless.