My name is Rachel Long and I am a studio art major at The University of Texas at Austin.
While studying abroad at The University of Cape Town, it was my great privilege to volunteer at Baphumelele, a children’s home supported by CHOSA. My time there enhanced my abroad experience tenfold and allowed me to connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Aaron Cator, an art history major at Santa Clara University, and I taught an informal art class for eleven fourteen and fifteen year olds. They were a rowdy and lovable bunch that came up with some amazing work. The goal was to create an accepting environment where they could express themselves in ways they aren’t used to. Some of the projects included: drawing their self portraits from black and white photographs, drawing what they felt in a bag, drawing things described to them from another drawing, and other assignments like drawing what they wanted to be in the future. All the kids got sketchbooks and my hope is they will continue to use them now that we are gone. The public schools our students attended are egregiously overcrowded and underfunded. The after school program is a valuable way for them to get individual attention. I deeply miss Baphumelele, but it is encouraging to know there is a new crop of volunteers continuing our work and joining the network of support.