Bene Caribe, has been engaged as a one of the partners on the Caribbean Fashion & Arts Feature Festival (CFAFF) project, and it's no rocket science why. CFAFF is a non-profit organization, focused on arts education and promotion, incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016 with the mission to merge fashion, film and art through public film screenings, lectures, exhibitions, fashion shows, concerts and festivals for the general public. Like us at Bene Caribe, CFAFF has a strong interest in youth development. The organization is mandated to host workshops, mentorship initiatives, educational sessions and seminars related to film making, fashion and arts, that also directly address social issues for young people aged 15-25 interested in careers in the creative sector to assist with skill building, support internship opportunities and build job experience.
Founder Kevon Foderingham is very passionate about doing good for the Caribbean, well in line with Bene Caribe's personal motto. We are so proud to be a part of this very important mission to foster positivity to those facing darker circumstances. I asked Kevon to share just a bit about the project, in an effort to get more people in the know, and maybe even inspire some of you to get involved!
BC: How can CFAFF impact the Caribbean?
KF: CFAFF, through our annual festival has been positioning itself as a platform to showcase regional talent and also promote it to the wider world. In 2016 we had the honor of being featured in Vogue Italia https://www.vogue.it/en/news/vogue-arts/2016/11/23/caribbean-fashion-and-arts-feature-festival/
and with it, added exposure to our Caribbean particpants. With regard to our arts impact work, CFAFF is eager to work alongside other Caribbean NGO's to collaborate on projects with regional scope.
BC: You work with young people primarily in East Trinidad, while we're used to seeing the focus on Port-of-Spain. Tell us about your space in Arima.
KF: EAST YARD is a place-based arts initiative in Arima, created by CFAFF to have social, cultural, and economic impact on the life of East Trinidad communities, addressing issues such as discrimination, social inequity, and crime through the arts.
EAST YARD serves as a community hub to connect and engage the local community on a regular and ongoing basis. It is a physical indoor and outdoor, multi-purpose space managed by the Caribbean Fashion and Arts Feature Festival, that includes a gift shop, tearoom and outdoor space run by CFAFF and independently owned businesses such as a dance studio, craft store and music school all on the premises.
(Wonderful Caribbean brands like yours truly, Bene Caribe, are sold at East yard
! Be sure to follow the link and go check them out!)
BC: You've narrowed in a lot on gender based violence. Why have you chosen this as the focus?
KF: Having been involved with the roll out of PSI Caribbean's, Make It Stop, gender-based violence prevention program from 2014-2017, I saw the importance of integrating gender based violence prevention training into CFAFF's programs and so reached out to Texas based, Indrani's Light Foundation for financial support and PSI Caribbean for technical support to launch the project.
BC: Do you think we need to have different conversations with each gender regarding violence?
Conversations don't need to be different. What needs to be different is that, all genders are actually included in the conversation as it is an issue that can affect all in various ways. This is exactly why we jumped at the chance to utilize PSI-Caribbean's, Youth Empowerment Program, GBV Prevention curriculum which focuses on young people, providing them with the necessary tools and skills to develop healthy relationship skills, address conflict in healthy ways, recognize and alleviate gender based violence, particularly intimate partner violence, in their lives.
BC: You've already had two successful editions (2016 and 2017) of CFAFF. What's next on the agenda?
We decided the time was right to shift focus for a bit and launch our first social good initiative, coined CFAFF ILLUSTRATE - Arts Impact Initiative to End Violence. This six-month intense program for youth aged 15-25 works to reveal the power of expression to uplift and transform through the use of visual arts. This program offers guided facilitation employing principles of communication, connection and transformation through the use of visual arts while holding a safe and non-judgmental space for youth to freely express their creativity and share experiences.
The sessions utilize guided visual art projects, bridging a powerful connection between both left and right brain cognition and will include facilitation from local professional guest artists and international artists in residence at EAST YARD to offer further inspiration and connection with members of the local art community working together to produce a group visual art exhibition chronicling their lives, ideas for change and ending violence in their lifetimes.
How can Caribbean persons abroad help this initiative?
Persons abroad are more than welcome to come on board to support this initiative as we begin to put things in place to launch the second round of the project in 2019. We are not only looking for monetary support but for technical support to strengthen our arts impact project, interns from abroad and even donations of arts supplies. It is about continuing to expand our community and having the greatest impact we can possibly have.
At the start of the project CFAFF reached out to other creative entities to support, by way of a small financial contribution toward sponsoring a participant and overall implementation of the project with Bene Caribe jumping on board immediately. Other contributors on the project include Art on Purpose, Agitate Media, Trinidad and Tobago Bridge Initiative and Bead Cafe.
Those interested in donations or collaborating can reach out to Kevon Foderingham at firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 1-868-491-3684