The new Fundação Arte e Cultura community center, inaugurated recently in the Ilha neighborhood, in the Angolan city of Luanda, has already become a well-known landmark. Offering a wide range of activities for children, youth, young adults, women, and families, all free of charge, the community center founded by the Menomadin Foundation’s African extension is the first of its kind in the city. While enhancing the neighborhood’s sense of community, the center has also become a source of attraction for visitors and tourists.
Although located on the beautiful peninsula near Luanda, which offers tourists luxury restaurants, bars, and spectacular tropical beaches, the Ilha neighborhood suffers from severe neglect. Aside from some church initiatives and the local football team, residents have no activities or enrichment programs to help them break the cycle of poverty and enhance the neighborhoods’ sense of community.
The Fundação Arte e Cultura Community Center complex is a sprawling area of 4 dunams (~10 acres) located in the heart of the Luanda Ilha neighborhood. With an amphitheatre for concerts and plays, an art gallery, a fruits and vegetables community garden, classrooms for many different workshops and courses, and a common area used for various gatherings and cultural events the complex offers visitors three main types of activities:
Its main mission is the various enrichment programs, classes, and workshops for the benefit of the community.
About 350 children and teenagers visit the complex daily, and enjoy art, music, reading and writing lessons. The children’s parents are involved through parental committees, collaborating with the management team on classes’ content and assisting with the many events held in the complex. Children from three orphanages in the area also frequent the complex, and enjoy the classes and activities. For women and young adults living in the neighborhood, the center offers vocational training courses and empowerment activities, with sewing lessons, computer courses, carpentry, and reading and writing classes for adults.
The complex holds events such as art exhibitions, films, theatre and music performances. The festivities have become a source of attraction for tourists and visitors, which have encouraged the opening of restaurants in the area.
The third type of activity includes social businesses the foundation initiates as impact investments, which are designed to address social causes through vocational training, alongside economic gain. While giving their customers a purpose behind every purchase, the profits are reinvested with the aim of expanding the foundation’s philanthropic activity and intensifying social impact.