by Ejidiah Wangui
NAIROBI, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- When Pamela Mbisi turned three years old, her mother gave her an exotic pink dress that was donated by a wealthy benefactor from one of Nairobi's upscale living quarters.
The bubbly ten-year-old girl has retained the gift that is greatly admired by her age mates in the sprawling Kibera slums where young children wake up to the tragic reality of poverty and marginalization.
The pink dress that is dear to Mbisi may have paved the way for the girl to become a professional ballerina.
The class four pupil in a public school located at the heart of Kibera slums developed an interest in ballet at a tender age and was optimistic she will one day master a genre of music that is alien to children growing up in slums.
"My mother was concerned when I spent a lot of time glued on television watching a ballet dance because she had limited grasp of this foreign music genre. Luckily, my nursery school teacher knew well about the power of ballet and encouraged me to pursue it with passion," Mbisi told Xinhua during a recent interview.
During her early childhood, there were no facility in Kibera where Mbisi and her peers could meet and train ballet dancing. It was therefore a herculean task for her to master the basic elements of a music genre she valued highly.
Luckily, it took a short time for her prayers to be answered and currently, a makeshift facility has been established by well-wishers where Mbisi and her age mates congregate to practice ballet.
During a tour of the make shift training facility, Xinhua spoke to male ballet teacher who clarified that contrary to conventional wisdom, slum children are mastering ballet dance within a short time span.
He revealed that a growing army of children in Kibera slums are enthusiastic about ballet having discovered its profound benefits.
The children who agreed to speak to Xinhua expressed their love of the music genre and vowed to devote time to master it before enrolling in high school.
"My friends encouraged me to learn ballet dancing and have never regretted the decision to master it since it promises boundless opportunities in the future," said Beatrice, a pre-teen ballet enthusiast.
As for 13-year-old George, an opportunity to learn ballet broadened his world views and enlarged his circle of trusted friends.
"In the beginning, my friends discouraged me from practicing ballet saying it was meant for girls. I ignored their taunting and I can confidently say the music genre has exposed me to the wider world," said George.
He aspires to become an accomplished ballet dancer and hopefully participate in national and global competitions.
International charity groups have sponsored children in Kibera slums to learn ballet and Yoga in order to improve their life's skills.