Frank Turner and the Joe Strummer Foundation are heading back to the WAYout Arts centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
On Sunday 13th January 2019 we fly back out to visit this wonderful project in the heart of Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa. WAYout Arts is an organisation that has been helping to change the lives of disadvantaged and street youth since 2008 using the medium of music and film. The Joe Strummer Foundation has been supporting this fantastic initiative since 2012 when we helped to install and set up a recording studio.
We were lucky enough to visit WAYout in March 2017 for the first time to meet the young people who have benefited from the project and we are very excited to be heading back out again for this follow-up visit.
“I’ve been waiting nearly two years to get back to the friends I made in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 2017, and I am very excited to be finally heading back with the Joe Strummer Foundation. The work WayOut does is invaluable, and I am both humbled and honoured to be a part of it.” – Frank Turner
The fundraising efforts centred around a sponsored marathon and a raffle of some of Frank’s lyric sheets from a recent video kindly organised by Xtra Mile. Money raised will be spent on a 4 x 4 vehicle and mobile recording equipment so WAYout can reach more young people in the provinces and beyond. We would like to thank all those who have donated to this very worthy cause.
Hazel Chandler, WAYout Arts co-founder details how our visit will help and explains some of the things we will do:
“Specifically, having a mobile studio and video unit means we can reach people who are completely off the beaten track who never have visitors, national or international. With nothing to do, very high unemployment, farming barely feeds you, high domestic abuse as a result of frustration, very low literacy, no awareness of rights etc because no access to TV, radio etc. These are forgotten places in Freetown with all the creative energy and enthusiasm, plus some, of anywhere else. It will also give an opportunity to some of our studio 2 trainees who are now quite experienced and looking for ways to show what they can do. They will sometimes go out with the vehicle and free up space in studio 2 for others to learn.” – Hazel Chandler, WAYOut Arts
Frank Turner’s previous visit had a massive impact on WAYout members. When you perceive yourself to be worthless and invisible to the world, to have a visit, however fleeting, from someone who is internationally renowned, helps you feel that you do matter, you are capable of something.
Their communities saw them in a more positive light, not as complete losers and they were motivated to achieve and ‘show Frank when he comes back’ what they have been doing. In a world where your life might be snuffed out at any time due to rubbish piles falling on you or simple illness you cannot afford to treat, a visit from someone of stature gives hope, determination and acceptance.
Next week we shall be revisiting the Iron Team in Ferry Junction who want to show us what they’ve achieved since our previous visit, we will also be working in the studio with WAYout members on a track about homelessness, visiting Kissi Town where a WAYout studio has now been set up and three new areas where there are lots of street youth with the thirst to learn.
You can follow our journey by using #FTJSFWO