Now is your chance to learn some modern and traditional African dance. Afro-Tribal dance group co-founders Binty Koroma and Bintou Barrow are giving African dance lessons in Guelph to share their culture and raise awareness about the depths of poverty that exists in West African countries.
At age 10, toward the end of Sierra Leone Civil War, Koroma was sponsored by a missionary group and this allowed her and her mother to move to Canada and settle in Guelph. In the years since coming to Canada, Koroma’s mother has been sending barrels of clothing and supplies back to her family in Sierra Leone.
“There are a lot of countries in Africa that are in extreme poverty and it’s not getting better,” said Koroma.
She wants to expand her mother’s tradition and send supplies to everyone who needs them in her home village of Magbeni, in Sierra Leone. In Magbeni, the schools don’t have desks and if you can’t afford tuition for your child, they don’t to go school. There is no government works program, and the foodbank does not exist.
“I want to do something else to make the community aware of what’s going on,” said Koroma. “We can start out with free classes to introduce people to African dancing and ask them to bring in donations.”
“When [you give] an item, you know where it’s going; you’re not just pushing a button online and sending money somewhere.”
In the future, Koroma hopes to host more workshops throughout Guelph, and is looking forward to moving into a new space at the Guelph Black Heritage Society building in October. As the program grows, Koroma hopes to send supplies to other locations including villages in The Gambia.
Afro-Tribal hosts classes on Sunday afternoons at the Guelph Youth Dance Studio. For those who cannot attend a class, or drop off a donation, Afro-Tribal also has a Go Fund Me Campaign for donations. The team at Afro-Tribal would also be happy to pick up donations from your home.
To see the squad in action, Afro-Tribal is hosting their first BBQ fundraiser at Royal City Park in Guelph, on Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. There will be dancing, face painting, a bouncy castle and more. The group will be accepting donations of clothing, school supplies, and non-perishable food items.
For more information visit www.afrotribaldance.com.