Blog Archives

Take a look at what the Big Little Caravan of Joy and The Painted Turtle Arts Camp have accomplished in 2017! These awesome programs will be continuing in First Nation communities in Canada as well as in communities in Africa. So many children are benefiting in so many ways from this incredible arts-based programming. A big congrats to Sarina Condello and her many teams!

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Huge congratulations to our Big Little Caravan of joy team lead, Sussie on the completion of her continuing education course in storytelling in Cape Town. The photo below is Sussie showing off her storytelling talent, reading the story of the Gruffalo to our group of kids in Christianenburg.

Storytelling is so important for children as they grow. Some of the top benefits are; enhancing verbal proficiency, improving listening skills, encouraging creativity and imagination, sharpening memory, and broadening horizons. Storytelling also enhances academic learning, improves communication skills and can help children face difficult situations with more ease. Way to go Sussie! The kids at Chistianenburg sure love it!

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Youth from Duck Bay attended our first ever PTAACs training in Toronto recently. On Feb. 6th they put on their very first After School Arts Club day back in Duck Bay, and it was a huge success. Tons of smiling, active kids were in attendance. Huge congrats to Tatayna and Kaycee for their leadership. Take a look at these captures to see what they created together.

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On January 23-25th, 2018 The Big Little Caravan of Joy headed up a 3-day adventure of arts and imagination in Zamimpilo.

The first day saw the kids making an imaginary trip to Kenya for Mama Panya’s delicious pancakes, via a reading by Sussie and Kwanele from the popular book.
They also filled the day with games and songs.
Inspired by the story, the Nunubelles made Mama Panya’s house in 2D while the older kids crafted it in 3D.

On the second day at Zamimpilo, Mzee’s fish came to life through the Nunubelles while the older kids brought forth Mama Panya through puppetry.
The joy when they saw their flexible miniatures was truly magic!

DAY 3 
On the third day, Team Joy read ‘The Gruffallo’, taking the kids on a make-believe bush hike to see the scary creature!
The children loved the story, and kept laughing at how the ‘little brown mouse’ was so smart.

Thanks to Sussie Mjwara for all the photos!

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Petronella Manzi, the child activity coordinator for our Christianenberg community tragically succumbed to complications from TB on Dec. 7, 2017. She was a much loved and inspiring member of our community and will be sorely missed. She has left a gap that will be impossible to fill. Petronella’s funeral was on Dec. 16th and was attended by many members of our community, who went into mourning over the Christmas holidays, as per tradition. Our Christianenberg child and youth centre manager, Thabiso made sure to arrange a donation from us to Petronella’s family and also ensured the postponement of the Christmas party and staff appreciation day.

The party was subsequently held on Jan 13th, to great success and joy. A hearty meal and gift exchange was enjoyed by the 100 children in attendance. The kids were also given a food parcel including a chicken to take home for their caregivers at home to cook for a special meal.

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Childhood Now (formerly Friends of NOAH Canada) is a Registered Canadian Charity (Charitable Registration Number: 840514954RR0001). Our programs help vulnerable children thrive by providing food, shelter, caregivers, education, play, and laughter. Working in Southern Africa as well as focused programming in Northern Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia First Nations Communities, we are growing and adapting, and reaching further than ever with greater impact.

Join us for an evening at Bandit Brewery where we will all come together and become “Bandits for Change”. Your purchase of a dinner ticket, or a table of 8, includes a delicious meal, all you can drink and a chance to meet the brew master, a great live band, and the opportunity to meet some incredible National and Olympic athletes. You will receive a charitable tax receipt*

The funds we raise through the purchase of your dinner ticket will be used to fund our programming, with a focus this year on our childcare centers and our sports camp.

We are a grassroots organization that will use 100% of the funds we raise at this event for the continued implementation of our programs in community.

If you wish to pay by cheque, please mail check to Childhood Now, 25 Lesmill Road, Unit 2, Toronto, ON, M3B 2T3

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The Big Little Caravan of Joy and the Painted Turtle Arts Camp’s journey into 8 African countries and 30 Northern Canadian, First Nations Reserves. Since 2006, The BLCJ and PTAC has reached thousands of vulnerable, remote and orphaned children through the language of creative arts and play. By training and hiring regional artists, childcare workers and teachers with a specialized arts-based curriculum, this dynamic program has empowered educators and children world wide.

last summer  the Painted Turtle Arts Camp, an arts integrated educational and cultural program designed for the First Nations children of Ontario and Manitoba, provided a rich and imaginative opportunity for hundreds of happy children. Young participants had the chance to explore and develop their physical, emotional and cognitive capacities while experiencing joyful expression through the creative arts.



Participating in a non-competitive environment where the elements of fun, joy and togetherness were the driving force of this summer program, 480 children from 12 communities had the opportunity to experience drama, dance, visual arts and music activities while being in a summer camp environment.

Cooperative games, dynamic choreography, visual arts projects, a community performance and a variety of songs generated a sense of unity, while at the same time focused on building the child’s creative vocabulary in all of these art forms.

Facilitated by 3 Painted Turtle teams this summer: (Bailey Davis and Damarise Ste. Marie, Sarina Condello and Rivers Wahl and then once again Sarina Condello and Bailey Davis) each group worked hand in hand with Right to Play and 14 community mentors to provide the most efficient and impactful program. Thousands of kilometers were driven across Ontario and Manitoba and many planes were taken to get up to more remote and Northern Communities so that children could participate in a camp that encouraged collaboration, confidence, community and creativity.

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The Big Little Caravan of Joy’s arts program is designed to empower vulnerable children in Africa through the natural language of play and the creative arts.

Designed in partnership with local artists and educators, our program combines creative and fun filled activities in dance, drama, visual arts and music which empower, engage and encourage resilience, confidence and joy for each and every child involved. The Big Little Caravan of Joy implements sustainable arts based programs for children led by local artists, educators and community volunteers through the year in schools and daycares. The arts curriculum developed specifically for children also develops, supports and encourages the capacity for cognitive, physical and emotional development.  

The Big Little of Joy’s Teacher Education Program (The Empowered African Child Conference) has trained over 1,000 international artists and educators with a child-centric arts-based methodology in the hope that the arts become a sustainable cornerstone for educational programs in these communities of need. The arts syllabus includes a pedagogical curriculum designed for childcare workers and educators that teaches, trains and models new ways of developing and implementing positive and successful programming in schools or daycares. 

Our program has been implemented in Ghana, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe. 


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No mater how long we walked, work had to continue with the kids and the excitement and energy was very high; all 385 children covered.
More work to continue with the over excited kids and teachers at Mdlunkulu Primary School.





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