In October 2008 Yasmanth and the project Rhythms of Culture, Children Helping Children was inaugurated. The hosting city was Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Seventy-two underprivileged children participated in this nine day cultural exchange. The participating children who joined Anthony and Yasmine were from Guatemala (Danza Maya Wajshaquib Batz), Honduras (IHNFA Instituto Hondureño de la Niñez y la Familia), and Colombia (Barrio 14 de Febrero de Fundación Batuta). These children shared culture through dance, music, and workshops with the Honduran public. All the participants lived a full cultural exchange by immersing themselves in Honduran culture.
The event was a great success thanks to the support of the local government and various entities in Honduras that made the event possible. Benefitting the most from the performances were disadvantaged children from the streets and markets, as they were able to see children like themselves on a stage making a difference. During the last performance held at the National Theater in Honduras, we were honored to have the Cultural Aggregate of the US Embassy in Honduras give a welcoming speech. All the funds raised during the performances were donated to IHNFA La Pradera to rebuild a much needed recreation center for the children it serves. The center was badly damaged after Hurricane Mitch hit the country in 1998.
Rhythms of Culture – Children helping Children Florida took place from September 21st to October 1st, 2010. The tour was composed of several groups. Children and chaperones from the Iseri Laruga Youth Dance Group represented the Garifuna culture from Livingston, Guatemala. Joining them, were children and chaperones from the Maya Wajshaquib Batz Dance Group originating from Quetzaltango, Guatemala. These two groups joined Yasmine and Anthony who were representing the cultures from Xinjiang, China and the Middle East respectively.
For the first cultural exchange in the US, the children held a Children’s Cultural Workshop and performance at the Miami Children’s Museum on September 22nd. This experience was unforgettable for the children who shared the joy of dance and music with South Florida children. On September 23rd the Guatemalan Maya community of El Sol Community Center, Jupiter welcomed the project with live marimba for a cultural exchange where the audience learned about new cultures and had the opportunity to appreciate a display of their own culture. The South Florida tour ended with an evening presentation at the Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater. Along with local artists performing Middle Eastern dance, Bollywood, and others, Yasmanth brought various diverse world cultures together under one roof. The funds raised were used to help pay for a trip to Walt Disney World.
After South Florida, the project headed north to create history by starting with a performance at the NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. It was through the educational attractions at NASA that the children learned first-hand that everything is possible and that they too can reach for the stars. The last performance of the project was the Magic Music Days presentation held at the Waterside Stage in Downtown Disney. It was the first time that the Uygur, Uzbek, Middle Eastern, Mayan, and Garifuna folklore were represented at this venue. With the performances complete, the costumes were packed, and it was time to enjoy the Walt Disney World Theme Parks with visits to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and Epcot parks. To complete a tour of many firsts for everyone, the group enjoyed a tent camping experience at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. What started as a dream had became a memorable and exciting reality.