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Local Artists Raising Money To Teach Art To Ugandan Orphans

Ugandan orphans
Image courtesy Natalya Kochak
Ugandan orphans that two Austinites hope to each art.

Two visual artists from Austin are trying to raise $3,200 to fund a trip to teach art to Ugandan orphans. Leticia Mireles and Natalya Kochak are already more than two-thirds towards their goal, but they still need about $1,000 within the next ten days. (You can donate to their trip here.)

"We are going to Masaka, Uganda to work with the orphans there," Kochak told KUT News. "It's a small program, but we'll be teaching them painting, collage and bookmaking."

Kochak says she was inspired to make the trip after meeting Michael Ssenfuma, a Catholic priest and youth minister in Masaka. His church has a sister church in Auburn, Alabama, where Kochak attended high school as a teenager.  

A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kochak says instruction will focus on using found objects to create art because the orphans have few art supplies available.

"I'm hoping that they'll be able to see that they can do different types of creative expression themselves and use that throughout their life," she said.

In a YouTube video, Ssenfuma says the orphans are extremely disadvantaged.

 "They have lost parents. They haven't gone to school. They barely have anything to eat. It's horrifying," he said. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.