Thursday, 27 August 2009

Young Port Talbot art group scoop major International Award

Young people from the Sandfields area of Port Talbot have won a prestigious award for their work in promoting world peace and global citizenship.

The Youth Inclusion Programme (YIP), based at Bevin Avenue, put forward their artwork for the Peace Mala International Awards for Youth 2009, and has been declared the winner of the Senior Award.

Jan Hines, Project Worker at the Sandfields and Aberavon Youth Inclusion Programme said: "The young people took part in a series of workshops delivered by Pam Evans, founder of the Peace Mala organisation. The Peace Mala project was originally set up following the 9/11 tragedies and consequent bullying of a young boy.

"The project aims to tackle all forms of bullying by informing young people about the similarities between the various world religions as opposed to the differences."

The award is the result of months of hard work by the young people who attend the YIP. It started in February with workshops that many of the young people took part in which created Peace Mala bracelets with beads symbolising different world religions.

"We used the project to deliver work on global citizenship and to promote tolerance and respect for each other and our community. We began work on our entry for the Peace Mala Award during the Easter half term holidays."

The YIP incorporated the creation of the artwork, with the help of artist Julian Lewis, and the production of a DVD and the recording of a song, exploring the themes of Peace Mala, with Cultural Fusion Wales. The production of the song and the DVD were funded by Arts Council of Wales through its highly successful, 'Splash Cymru' initiative.

The Arts Council of Wales has been working in partnership with the Youth Justice Board since 2003 to provide financial support for their 'Splash Cymru' Programmes. The young people involved have been identified as individuals aged between 13-17 years of age who are at risk of offending. The Arts Council's financial support provides arts opportunities for these young people during the holiday periods. The DVD was produced during Whitsun half term and also formed part of the winning entry.

The young people of the Youth Inclusion Programme will attend the Award Ceremony at the Welsh Centre for International Affairs/UNA Wales Temple of Peace in Cardiff on September 14th.

Jan Hines added: "The young people responded magnificently to this project and all of the staff at the YIP are extremely proud of them.

"The project promotes greater tolerance and understanding for each other, in our communities, as well as respect and understanding of different world religions and cultures."


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