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By Cassandra Giannone,daCi, Adelaide Australia

In 2014 I joined dance and the Child international as a Springboard member.The Springboard group was given a task to create Youth Forums which we facilitated at the 2015 Twist and Twin Congress in Copenhagen. After Copenhagen, I became involved in the 2018 Panpapanpalya joint dance congress in Adelaide. Within the organisation of the 2018 congress in consultation with WDA and daCi,the local organising committee agreed an initiative to raise funds to establish a program that would enable young people with access challenges to participate in Panpapanpalya 2018. Therefore it was decided that the 2018 congress budget would include funding to support access.

$10 from each Panpapanpalya registration was allocated to this access budget with additional funds raised through a range of efforts, including generous support from my former co-Springboarders Emma Warmington and Nikki Caputo, as well as daCiAustralia rep Kathy Vlassopoulus, and many local organising committee members.

During planning discussions,a lack of African participation in daCi and WDA events was noted and members identified possible participants. As a result, the Peace Africa Children’s Ensemble was invited to attend the Panpapanpalya Dance Congress and receive support. This project sparked my interest because of my own experience as a Springboard member when my trip was funded to attend the 2015 congress. As an adult I will never forget that experience and it was then I realised that this experience would be life-changing for child or young person. In the 3 years leading up to Panpapanpalya 2018 the fundraising committee hosted a variety of events to raise money and we were able to reach our goal. With collaboration and support from the staff and principal from Thorndon Park Primary School and WDA member Mabingo Alfdaniels, all six students and their teacher were invited to attend the 2018 congress to share their skills and passion for dance. Unfortunately at the eleventh hour the young people were denied visas prohibiting their attendance in Adelaide.

daCi is determined to try again for the next conference in Toronto Canada in July 2021. Watch this space for updates on our progress!