FIC Mission Statement: Freedom in Creation inspires healthy sustainable community with art, water and global education. Through grassroots community development, we empower youth and women with art as therapy and entrepreneurship education, enabling them to bring vital resources to their communities. Connecting development programs with international classrooms, we enrich global education with participatory and service learning.
“Africa’s longest war” has affected northern Uganda for over two decades. In the last few years it has been pushed into neighboring countries where crimes against humanity continue at the hands of the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army. While the people in northern Uganda are now experiencing relative peace, the traumas of war remain and longterm healing is needed. Historically, this conflict has amounted to nearly two million people displaced to overcrowded internally displaced persons camps with unconscionable weekly death rates. Children continue to be overwhelmingly the most affected victims of the conflict. Some 65,000 children have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and forced to participate as soldiers, sex slaves, and laborers. Long-term healing demands increased psychological care, basic water infrastructure, and access to education.
Since January 2007 FIC has provided art as therapy and art as education for 35 war-affected children during weekly art classes led by Ugandan counselors, licensed art teachers, artists and volunteers. Participating children are able to express themselves in a healthy peer environment through the creation of art. The process of art making helps to reinstate their dignity, affirms them, and encourages socialization and reintegration of former child soldiers into mainstream society. The children’s art is exhibited internationally and funds are raised to support programs. Thus, the children are accredited with having helped in the process of bringing water and infrastructure to their communities, naturally reversing some of the stigmas associated with participation in war.
FIC provides clean drinking water to underserved communities by drilling wells, rehabilitating broken wells, and providing hygiene sanitation training and consulting about sustainability. Rehabilitation and drill sites are selected based on consultations with the local community after geological and sociological surveys are undertaken to insure long-term sustainability.
In Uganda FIC provides entrepreneurship education, connecting creativity with model farming on our twelve-acre education center, the FIC Center for Sustainability. We provide full and partial educational sponsorship to primary and secondary level students. We also partner with Ugandan schools to boost capacity through facility renovations, resourcing with books and materials, and consulting with teachers. We also teach through internship programs involving vocational training and undergraduate institutes.
Internationally, we enrich global education curriculum through our Global Village Education programs, connecting ongoing programs in Uganda with classroom theory through lectures, art exhibitions, conferences, collaborative art projects and service and participatory learning. Such efforts encourage a sense of “commonalities before differences,” peace building, and the way in which the world is connected as a global village. We also provide international students internship and volunteer opportunities to learn in participatory ways on our farm.
FIC models sustainability by developing strategic partnerships and leveraging available resources to meet definitive needs. In Uganda resources are largely in the land so FIC has invested in a farm facility we call our Center for Sustainability. Farm-based education enables participatory and experiential learning in a way that is interdisciplinary, connecting art and water programming, while generating revenue to support programs. Internationally, FIC invests in educational and business partnerships which meet an increasing desire for global education, socially conscious products, and offset reliance on charitable revenue.