Design for good

We are using creativity as an entrepreneurial tool for global development by providing access to technology, scholarship support and arts education programs emphasizing design and digital media to secondary school students in under-served schools in the developing world.

Art, design and code are practical and powerful tools that can heal individuals in post-conflict areas, unlock new ways of communicating, and create alternative educational and employment opportunities. More specifically for youth, promoting creativity has the potential to help students who have been traumatized to process their emotions and humanize their experiences, to aid in the development of their creative thinking skills and, with creative jobs on the rise, to facilitate access to a rapidly growing professional field. Vitally, technological skills and creative thinking can foster an entrepreneurial society which is essential to economic growth and development.

We focusing our initial efforts in South Africa, where more than half the population lives below the poverty line and five million people have HIV/AIDS. A critical 55.6% of the population is under the age of 24 and 48% of 15-24 year olds are currently unemployed. These issues are steeped in South Africa’s tumultuous history of apartheid, which, despite being legally dismantled in 1994, still causes lingering socioeconomic stratification.

Notwithstanding, South Africa has many beacons for global development. Among the brightest of these is its artistic culture. The country’s rich history has fostered a dynamic and creative populace, which has rendered South Africa the sixth healthiest market for design in the world. Cape Town was recently the “World Design Capital”, reflecting the strength and dynamism of South Africa’s well-rooted creative culture.

We’re incredibly fortunate to be partnering with Dramatic Need, a well-established UK-based charity that sends international and local volunteer artists to South Africa and Rwanda. Dramatic Need currently works with 19 schools, reaching over 3,600 children in some of the most impoverished and isolated parts of rural Southern Africa. Dramatic Need is a similarly determined organization that already has the infrastructure and foundation of a working program. This collaboration means that ArtDept and Dramatic Need can immediately begin working symbiotically towards achieving similar goals.

Starting in 2017, we’re also working with Ubuntu Youth to produce art and design workshops in Cottonlands, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Ubuntu Youth is an after-school program that seeks to invest in promising high school students by providing a strong educational and life-skills foundation that is often overlooked in rural public schools.