Marion Op het Veld is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sarakasi Trust, which was founded by her and Rudy Van Dijck in December 2001. The Trust became an incorporated trust in March 2009 and gained (Kenyan) NGO status in December 2009. Marion has been working with the arts, culture and entertainment since 1981 using the performing arts as a tool to instill positive change in troubled young and adult people. She arrived in Kenya in 1989 as a spouse. During her first years here she got to know the country, started a family and learned about the rich Kenyan culture and its people.
When she met an acrobatic troupe in 2000 she immediately knew that here was an opportunity to show the world through performing arts that Africa was much more than the ‘dark continent’, as it was often perceived in the West. Here was not only the opportunity, but also the need to nurture and facilitate these arts and, through this, improve the life of the often poor and underprivileged performing artists.
Photo Source: Sarakasi Trust Facebook Page
Marion has seen the Trust grow from a very small project into a multi-program multi donor undertaking. The management is team based while most employees have been trained on the job through practical exposure including exchanges and training opportunities. Together the Sarakasi team has successfully designed, implemented and expanded the Sarakasi Programs.
Sarakasi Trust responds to the need for the further development and promotion of culture, performing arts and entertainment in East-Africa focusing on acrobatics, dance and music. Sarakasi strives to empower its trainees and contracted artists (most of which originate from slum areas in Nairobi) creatively and economically by giving them tools to manage their art, lives and careers more effectively and successfully.
For more information: http://www.sarakasi.org