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Inspiring Environmental Change Through The Arts

With eco-anxiety becoming a very real issue for many, newly formed charitable trust The Wanda Foundation are finding ways to “inspire environmental change through the arts”.

Launched in July this year, the trust was created to support a positive environmental shift while advocating for creativity and the arts.

“Studies show that live performance, music and theatre support wellbeing while also serving as an opportunity to spread awareness around critical social and global topics. In our case it’s about caring for Papatūānuku, our earth”, shares trustee and founder of The Wanda Foundation Anna van Riel.

The trust aims to serve as a platform for sharing art forms and interactive community events with an environmental focus, and have set the ball rolling with the children’s stage show Waste Free Wanda.
The one-woman musical shares the story of a school kid (aka Wanda) who discovers she is the lost heir of an ancient tribe of earthkeepers. Upon finding the lost crystal of her tribe she sets about saving her town from single-use plastic waste with the help of her peers (aka her young audiences).

The show has reached over 11,000 children since launching in February 2020, and now sits under the banner of The Wanda Foundation to support their quest to support tamariki faced with eco-anxiety, while encouraging critical thinking and offering solutions around caring for our environment.

“The show is funny, engaging and helps children to understand what they can do to make a difference in their own backyards when it comes to waste reduction. They are our future so it’s vital that they are armed with solutions, rather than being only bombarded with the problems”, said Anna.

The Wanda Foundation has been fortunate to gain the support of Wanaka lawyer Julie Aitken from Aspiring Law after it became a recipient of the Aspiring Law Sponsorship Programme, set up to help support local community projects. Julie worked with the Foundation to establish its charitable trust deed and help it formulate its purpose and strategy.

“Creating a charitable trust is no small feat, so we are grateful to have the support of Aspiring Law through this alliance and have them on our team.”

The Wanda Foundation is aiming to reach more primary schools in the Southland and Otago regions in 2022 and continue its delivery of the Waste Free Wanda show to tamariki, teachers and community.

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