So don't be afraid, You are Worth More than Many Sparrows

Art Teacher


Raylene

There’s not much I can say about myself as an artist except that it’s a Gift that runs in my family of artistic people, stemming from singing, writing to drawing, and one I was born with that I inherited from my mom. I remember growing up in a home filled with adults and many children, and that all the chaos at times became too overpowering for a small girl to bear. I took refuge in reading, writing and drawing. I remember standing in front of my wooden easel long before I started school and getting my hands dirty painting or sculpting with clay was something I absolutely loved doing.

At school my art teachers saw my ability doing better than the other students. Some teachers would use me to draw for their lessons and my art work got selected for our local schools art exhibitions that were held at our Civic Centre in Eldorado Park during those years.

That’s all I did as a youngster, I kept myself busy and distracted making use of my Gifts God blessed me with. My late grandmother often told me never to use my gifts for my own gain so I always shared mine with family and friends or anyone I met. No matter what career I was in, I always knew in my heart that I’m a writer and an artist and it’s my birth right!

My career took me on a totally different path in Finance and Procurement but my hardships brought me back to who I am and to where it started, Eldorado Park, a place I swore I would never come back too because of my many painful memories infused with some happy ones. When I walk through the streets of Eldorado Park now, chills run down my spine because of the poor state the place is in. Parks and places I played at with my friends as a little girl are now infested with garbage and the stench of sewage fills the air. Young children walk around during school hours, lost and high on drugs. Girls as young as ten, eleven are selling their bodies for drugs worth R20 (rand) a fix. Teenage girls walk the streets in their sleep clothes and slippers, no etiquette or lady-like characteristics left over amongst some of my young female sisters! I’ve seen women staggering home high, drunk, and men wasting away on alcohol and drugs while children roam the streets unattended too. This was my drive and need behind starting a foundation to help children who are being destroyed by drugs and broken homes.

This is the Community I once felt safe to be in as a child, back then children could be heard playing outside, and laughter was heard coming from homes while street lights served as the only source of light to kids playing outside in the dark. Families stood together and were there for one another, respect was taught as a religion and discipline instilled at schools, even children knew their place in Society. Being back here, not only saddens me, it makes me see how my Community has deteriorated over the years. I always said if I could make a difference in the life of one child, I will die a happy and fulfilled woman, but now I feel the need to touch as many lives as possible through my passion for the Arts World. I want to use this opportunity to enrich the lives of others but WE can only make it if WE all work together in building up one Community at a time.

I left here in pursuit of a better life, I succeeded, I failed along the way, but now I’m back trying to help make the lives of others better by sharing my Gifts and talents with them, to inspire them and to teach them to be a blessing to others. As a mother, I want what’s best for my two children who did not ask to be here, but how many other children do not have mothers, fathers or people responsible enough to take on a parent’s role to these children? They have nobody to teach them, encourage them, to love and support them, some of them have parents who do not care enough to be parents.

This is where we can all play an active role in our Communities, to stand in as good role models and examples for our future generation to follow. This is why I dedicate my time to teach art and to be a pillar of strength to some of these children in the Community so that one day, they too could be inspired to help someone else in need like I was inspired by my late grandmother Winifred, who was my source of strength, inspiration and motivation in life.