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Guest Thinkers

Breakdance as a Tool for Social Change

In a country referred to as “the worst place to be a child”, for five years now, Abraham “Abramz” Tekya has been using hip hop and breakdance to empower, rehabilitate, and heal his community. Abramz is the founder and director of Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU), a non-profit organization that involves young people in hip hop culture in order to build leadership skills and promote social responsibility.

As many other kids in Uganda, Abramz was orphaned at age 7, losing both of his parents to AIDS. Even though he had a rough childhood struggling to get an education and earn money to survive, he used his life experience and love of hip-hop to educate, inspire and unite the youth in Uganda and beyond.

Since 2006 BPU has been a catalyst in creating jobs and opportunity for Ugandan youth. The program is built around free classes sustained by members voluntarily passing their skills to other members. BPU’s core principle is that everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher with something positive to give. This is why the kids are not only taught how to dance, but also how to teach others to dance.

Many of the participating children come from extremely vulnerable social backgrounds and most cannot afford proper schooling. While attending the hip hop and break dance classes, they get to discover and develop a skill to take pride in. In addition BPU partners with other organizations to give its members other formal and non-formal education opportunities such as life skills workshops, media and skill training, advocacy training.

You can follow Breakdance Project Uganda on its journey in the film Bouncing Cats, currently screening in selected theaters.

Dancing is truly transformational. It brings back the joy in life, heals, and dissolves aggression. We certainly need more creative ways to use it as a tool in education and social change. But it’s not just dancing. As BPU’s guiding principle states: everyone has the capacity to be a positive role model and has something to give to the other members of the community. We can all make a change, no matter what.


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