TICAH was founded in 2003 by Mary Ann Burris and trustees Onesmos Ole Moi Yoi, Kimani Njogu and Nicola Blundell-Brown. From the very beginning, our vision was to promote a deeper understanding of the connections between health and culture and to use that understanding to help ourselves and the communities we work with to make the best choices possible for health and well-being.
At TICAH, we know that to be healthy, we must have our rights respected, our homes safe and able to nourish us, our bodies strong, and our hearts happy and peaceful. None of this is possible if we ignore the role of culture. For too many of us in Kenya, culture was seen only as having a negative impact on health. Too few programs recognize the health-enhancing contributions that traditional foods and herbal remedies, collectivist values and preventive health strategies can make. Too few really stop to listen to what communities value and how they see a problem.
TICAH was founded on the belief that the first step to addressing any health issue is to listen, to understand what local resources are at hand, and to build from those. TICAH was also founded on the belief that art and self-expression have an important role to play in health and healing, in building community cohesion, supporting alternative leadership, and clearing paths for change.
Dr. Burris and TICAH’s original trustees wanted to build a body of work in which the participatory and culturally-sensitive processes of our work are part of the change we want to help create.
We also have a 501(c)3, TICAH – USA which was set up in New York. It has an independent Board of Directors and will work to support TICAH in our work and to resource and run companion programs and exhibitions.