Jacaranda School for Orphans founder Marie Da Silva has said that Madonna’s participation in their activities has pushed them to do more in the arts.
The American singer, songwriter, actress and business woman, joined Jacaranda School for Orphans in dance during some of their activities that spiced up the opening of the Mercy James Centre of Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre recently.
“As Jacaranda School for Orphans we were happy that she joined in our activities and she actually was impressed with the talent of the students,” Da Silva said.
The founder said Jacaranda School for Orphans which started in a family house has now blossomed into a school that is recognised for its talent in arts.
“The school has grown since it started and it now has 400 students and these students throughout the years have been given the tools to enhance talent,” she said.
Believing that arts go hand in hand with academics, Da Silva said the school has been in the forefront promoting arts and culture.’
“It was a challenge getting our teachers to understand why the arts were important in school. But I insisted on the students taking part in after school classes. They had painting, music, dance and theatre classes,” she said.
Da Silva said through the programmes, the school this year made it to the finals of the Association of Teaching of English in Malawi (Atem).
She also said that this year two of their students Clement Kamkwamba and Reuben Salima are in California at Otis College of Arts and Design for a month of summer in arts.
The two students are being prepared with the hope of applying for Bachelor of Arts next year.
“So all this sweat in the arts is bringing the much needed results as shown by the recognition from Madonna. Madonna chose some art students from Jacaranda to paint the murals at The Mercy James Pediatric Centre,” she said.
Da Silva also said Madonna chose The Jaca Steppers, three of the dancers from Jacaranda School for Orphans to perform with her adopted son David Banda.
“On top of that the school choir performed and 11- year old Thoko opened the ceremony with a poem to Madonna,” she said.
Da Silva said exposing children to arts is very important in that they also do well academically.
“My dream is to one day have a school of performing arts here for our children as young as nursery age, because Clement and Reuben started drawing at the age of six,” she said.