What is Sabi Diri s.b.i.
Sabi Diri s.b.i. stands for Sabi Diri so be it. Sabi Diri is a Surinamese saying meaning knowledge is expensive. The founder Aminata Cairo, of Surinamese origin has chosen to translate Sabi Diri as knowledge is priceless because she believes that at the core of any kind of positive change and vision lies knowledge. So be it is the English affirmation that has been added since the organization has its roots on North American soil.
Sabi Diri s.b.i. is an organization dedicated to serve underserved, silenced, and otherwise overlooked populations regardless of location in education promotion, cultural appreciation, self-empowerment, and artistic expression through the use of community engagement, collaborative work and applied anthropological methods.
Sabi Diri s.b.i. was started in 2001 in Lexington, Kentucky as a dance company after a collaboration with the River City Drum Corp from Louisville, Kentucky. It so happened that the group members represented different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, something that would continue throughout the life of the company. Company members represented Korean, Chinese, African American, rural Appalachian, central Kentucky, mid-West American, Surinamese Dutch, Puerto Rican, and Native American backgrounds. They would often collaborate with the Rakaduh Gypsy Dance Company and were always accompanied by Tripp Bratton. Soon the company was known as that “multi-ethnic company” and prided itself on telling stories through dance that celebrated and affirmed the richness and value of diversity.
From the beginning Sabi Diri s.b.i. was never just a dance company and committed itself to community empowerment through various community activities and workshops addressing such issues as marginalization, profiling, domestic violence, and more. Sabi Diri s.b.i. performed through Kentucky, the South, and Suriname. The group disbanded in 2008 as all members started different phases of their lives.
Sabi Diri s.b.i. has been revived in 2016. The core message of the company is the same, affirming the value of all life in a multi-cultural society. Although the arts remain an important methodology to promote this message, the approach is broader and wider. Sabi Diri s.b.i. is still dedicated to uplifting people, but mostly through collaborative efforts that are based in educational, community and artistic activities.
Who is Sabi Diri s.b.i.
Sabi Diri s.b.i. is an organization run by the founder, Aminata Cairo. Sabi Diri s.b.i. works with partner organizations, volunteers, and community partners
Aminata Cairo, Ph.D.
Founder & Director
Aminata Cairo is an American with roots in both Suriname and the Netherlands. She has academic degrees in physical education and psychology (B.A.), clinical psychology (M.S.), and anthropology (M.A., Ph.D.). She has a long history of dance, community activism, and education promotion at the community level. Since 2016 she has been working in diversity and inclusion policy in the Netherlands, initially at Leiden University and subsequently at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Her passion lies in using her academic skills to implement positive change at the community level. Combining her love for the arts, education, community, and mental well being, she has committed herself to sharing her lessons learned from African and indigenous people about living well with ourselves and each other.
Director of SSK - LIO
Sabi Diri s.b.i.’s main partner is the Dutch organization SSK-LIO under the direction of Mr. Dennis Drenthe. SSK-LIO stands for Stichting Sportstimulering en Kadervorming – Landen in Ontwikkeling which translates into Foundation for Sports Stimulation and Capacity Development – Countries in Development. Sabi Diri s.b.i. and SSK-LIO collaborate to offer youth capacity development training and educational support programs in Ghana and Suriname. Mr. Drenthe is a specialist in using sports activities for individual and community development.
Some of Sabi Diri s.b.i.'s community partners include Cultural Organization N.A.K.S. and the Department of Culture Studies in Paramaribo Suriname. In Ghana we work with the Catholic Archdiacese of St. Peter and Paul in Tamale, and schools in Larabanga, Mognori, Wa, Kaleo, and Kaluri. In the Netherlands we work with the organizations Untold, the Hangout 070. In the U.S. we collaborate with Newsong Fellowship Church, the Metro Transgender Umbrella Group, among others.
Individual collaborators and inspirers include Kelvin Cooper (US), Kathryn Bentley (US), and Neri Torres (Barbados).
In addition there are many individuals, too many to mention, without whom the work would not be done.
There are ways for you to get involved with our projects.