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Who We Are: OUR WORK
Discovering Hidden Talents Through Sharing History

Artfully AWARE uses creativity as an important tool for social improvement and emotional recovery of persons who have experienced traumatic events, disabilities or inadequate living conditions through our main program – The Storybook Project. Our unique educational project is a culmination of all of our past programs. Elements from previous workshops – including discussion, painting, photography, dance, theatrical performances, storytelling and music – have now been put together to form a complete holistic approach to working with communities.

We inspire people to understand their unique power to influence their future by writing, illustrating, photographing and publishing their personal stories into a Storybook that is written in both English and their own local language. For many, our Storybooks offer a way of expressing internal feelings that have been repressed in times of turmoil and are often difficult to vocalize. One can not overstate the importance of communities being able to hold a history written by themselves in their own hands.

Through each Storybook Project, AfA helps to restore the lives of people by teaching new skills that lifts them out of poverty and brings much needed resilience. Children and adults strengthen their minds and abilities through creative stimulation. We run Storybook themed workshops that utilize creative techniques to help train rural communities in business skills and build sustainable economic development. Our workshops are cathartic, therapeutic and build trust among participants.

Once the Storybooks are published and printed, Artfully AWARE delivers copies to the participating communities and employs followup workshops. As we build up our collection of AfA Storybooks written by communities from around the world, we share these publications with fellow participants. Through our books we aim to engender cross-cultural learning, foster a greater awareness of human rights, encourage the break down of barriers and stereotypes and preserve cultural heritage.

Our Storybooks deal with adult themes, but can be considered suitable for children over the age of twelve. They make a wonderful gift for friends and family, as well as a great educational resource for the classroom and at home. Our books are designed for parents who want to teach their children about families from different cultures, school teachers who want to educate students on world history, other educational instructors who want to learn about how communities overcome struggle, diaspora groups, development workers who want to gain an understanding of the communities they work in and for individuals who take an interest in fascinating and uplifting stories.

Our Storybooks are available to purchase online through suppliers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other retailers. 100% of proceeds raised through the purchase of our book goes straight back into developing more educational arts programs for community members to promote empowerment, support psychological well-being, increase self-esteem and enhance local capacity building.


1. The Story of the Acholi – A Village Tale from Uganda
An incredible summer program led to the creation of our AfA storybook entitled The Story of the Acholi – A Village Tale from Uganda. This was born out of a project that encouraged Acholi community members living in Gulu, northern Uganda to write, paint and perform about their personal stories consisting of family, positive health and peace & reconciliation after the 20 year civil war. Our 56 page storybook is written in both English and Acholi languages, is full of colorful illustrations, displays photographs of participating community members and captures personal quotes about this intimate and ultimately empowering project.

“Cultural ties contribute to the social, psychological, therapeutic and educational existence of Ugandans. This storybook is the culmination of hundreds of community members’ ideas, thoughts, hopes and dreams. The illustrations were first created in 2008 in Tororo and by August 2011, Gulu residents wrote their own personal recollections in diaries describing events they lived through. They painted scenes depicting their beautiful and sometimes harrowing tales. As a collective group, we combined the essays into one – to colorfully tell the story of the Acholi people. We hope this storybook will bring Ugandan readers closer together and allow the chance for others around the world to share in this experience, while learning about northern Uganda’s remarkable culture and its people.” Hilary Wallis, Founder and Executive Director of Artfully AWARE

View our photo album of how this project developed with community members by clicking here.

Purchase Book links:

Amazon.com  /  Amazon.co.uk  /  Barnes & Noble


2. The Benefits of Positive Living – Two Village Tales from Uganda

In 2012, residents from the villages of Kwapa and Nyalakot in Tororo, Eastern Uganda completed writing and designing AfA’s second Storybook entitled: The Benefits of Positive Living – Two Village Tales from Uganda, which was published in early 2013. This book is composed of stories written and illustrated by dozens of community members who ultimately survived the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In both English and Ateso languages, they give advice to readers in the hope that others will learn from their experiences.

View our photo album showing the exciting delivery of our books to community members and the development of our second Storybook by clicking here.

Purchase Book links:

Amazon.com  /  Amazon.co.uk  /  Barnes & Noble


3. Perseverance & Possibility in Kenya – Stories Capturing an Image of Intensity, Persistence & Big Dreams

Award-winning ‘Cause Focused Storyteller’, Founder of Literacy Outreach Belize and Lead Facilitator for Artfully AWARE, Kristin Pedemonti spent a
month volunteering in Kenya collecting countless stories, photographs and illustrations from many Kenyan organizations and individuals. Kenya is a country of contrasts – from the huge, sprawling, modern metropolis of Nairobi with its traffic jams, skyscrapers towering to the sky and an emerging technology industry – to the hundreds of bustling towns and villages, some with traditional structures of thatch roofs and small shambas that families farm. Often when people think of Kenya they picture grasslands, Maasai Warriors, elephants, giraffes and lions. Most do not think of a modern city, over three million people, IT innovation and incredible creativity. But this is also Kenya. It is country of 42 cultures and languages. It is a place with a persistent prevalence of hope. It is also a country filled with stories. Stories connect us all, one to another, culture to culture, country to country. No matter what man-made borders we reside in; no matter what religion, culture or color of our skin we have, we are all united through our traditional and personal stories. These stories illustrate our similarities and celebrate our uniqueness. Every one of us has a story to share. Our stories matter. Our stories inspire.

“This was definitely my experience in Kenya. I met so many inherently talented people dedicated to contributing their gifts to lift up their communities and their country. I met Painters and Poets. Storytellers and Songwriters. Dancers and Drummers. Farmers & Film Makers. I met adults orphaned as children and teens who did not give up in order to pursue their passion. I met widowed women who refused to follow tradition to strike out on their own rather then be inherited. Women who had overcome the challenge of not only loosing their spouse, but to have their home taken, with all of their possessions returning to the deceased husband’s family. Today these women are not only surviving – they are thriving! They work together farming peanuts, sharing a common goal to provide micro-loans to other women in need. So many people I met learned their skill or their creative craft by digging deep within so they could connect with others to learn and also share their special gifts. Collecting the true stories of their real life journeys, with their challenges, their struggles and ultimately their triumph over adversity was beyond inspiring. Witnessing an art teacher and his students paint masterpieces within the Kibera slums in Nairobi was a mind-blowingly amazing experience. They remind us all to persist and pursue our passions. If we follow their lead, life’s possibilities are endless!” – Kristin Pedemonti, Lead Facilitator of Artfully AWARE

Purchase Book links:

Amazon.com  /  Amazon.co.uk  /  Barnes & Noble