Children Draw their Dreams in Africa

Do you remember when someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? What did you say? A policeman, a teacher, a pilot?  Poor children in Africa have dreams too. Their dreams are most often of a better life for themselves and their families.

Recently more than 1,000 children from some of Kenya’s poorest areas were given the chance to draw their dreams for the future. As you might expect, they drew pictures of doctors, engineers and airline pilots.

Children throughout the world share similar dreams, but these children had the chance to express their dreams through art thanks to New York artist Dinesh Doshi, who wanted to give children in Africa the chance many never have. Working with African Childrens Haven, an Aid for Africa member, he donated crayons and paper to children in Nairobi and rural areas near Lake Victoria in western Kenya.

“It has been a goal of mine to provide crayons to young minds, so that they have the opportunity to explore their own dreams,” Doshi said.

More than 1,000 children from some of Kenya’s poorest areas were given the chance to imagine and draw their futures. Most students in Kenya don’t receive art instruction in school.  Many have never even held a crayon.  Art is a luxury when there isn’t enough money to buy text books. Doshi wants to change that.

“Educators know that teaching art at the primary school level helps children develop their motor skills, promotes language development and strengthens decision making,” Doshi said.

Sarah Alivista, a student from Kangami, one of Nairobi’s worst slums, wants to be a doctor who takes care of children. Yvone Mulusa, wants to be an environmentalist and protect the forest.

Doshi spent his first twelve years in Sudan before returning to his family’s home in India, where he trained as an architect and designer. Since 1974 he has lived in the US where he is an established expressionist painter.

The students began sharing their drawing in early June. All will be collected and shared by African Childrens Haven.

African Childrens Haven helps children living in extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa lead healthier, more productive lives. The work of the organization supports education, health, sanitation and safety, particularly for orphans and girls, who face greater risk for violence, neglect and illness.

View some of the artwork by Kenyan children who are drawing their dreams.

Aid for Africa is an alliance of U.S.-based nonprofits and their African partners who help children, families, and communities throughout Sub Saharan Africa. Aid for Africa’s grassroots programs focus on health, education, economic development, arts & culture, conservation, and wildlife protection in Africa.

Photo Credit: Aid for Africa


FOTEINI horbou4 months ago

noted! :)

Carl R
Carl R5 months ago


heather g
heather g5 months ago

I hope the 'America's Embarrassment' doesn't go and cut funding for these deserving children

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga5 months ago


Margie F
Margie FOURIE5 months ago

We take things for granted. Our children were brought up with colouring in books and crayons.

Twila H
Twila H5 months ago

It's such a shame that there are children that have never had the chance to draw, color or paint. Thanks for sharing the article.

Steven W
Steven W5 months ago

Great article. Thank you.

rosario p
rosario p.5 months ago

Curious that most of the pictures they represent themselves with white skin, I found this a little sad. They should be proud of their color and identity. Dreams are influenced for what they see on TV, yes, they can be poor but have normally one at the house or a familiar s house. In a documentary filming around the world it was so chocking to find a TV in so poor, very poor families. TV has a great impact around the world and not always for good.

Heather B
Heather B5 months ago

It is wonderful to see children express themselves - thanks for sharing

Winn A
Winn A5 months ago

Thanks for the article