Theatre for a change
Theatre for a Change "...equip[s] the most marginalised and vulnerable groups with the skills to be able to change their lives and the lives of others" through interactive, theatrical-based lessons. The organization is currently working in Malawi, Ghana and the U.K. Their work in each country is described in further detail, here.
While in Malawi, I was able to see firsthand, some of the incredible work TfaC is doing to empower these vulnerable groups. The school we visited was called the Mbembembe Primary School. Though we only were able to spend an afternoon there, the lessons I learned are ones I will carry with me forever. Our group spilt up and "sat in" on two classes at the school: Girls Club and Student Council. I was part of the group that was able to interact with Student Council. Being able to actually interact with the students and take part in their lessons and activities was incredible. Even when there was no interpreter nearby, dancing, moving and laughing with the students was a feeling like no other. I remember that day so vividly, and the feeling I had dancing around in that schoolroom, surrounded by endless joy, positivity and motivation, is simply irreplaceable.
Some of the specific lessons covered in the classroom were topics including School-related Gender Based Violence and sexual education with a focus on reproductive health/contraceptives. The one statistic that stood out to me was the sheer amount of girls who skip weeks of school due to their menstrual cycles. Because there is no secluded, private area for them to change every few hours, they must walk the average distance of fifteen kilometers back to their villages to do so. Most decide to simply stay at home for the remainder of the day, because of the long distance walk back to school. This causes the young girls to miss important lessons and activities.
Abuses are sometimes reported to the Student Council, in which case the students approach the Head and explain the situation. Depending on the case, some are reported to the Village Head, or the police.
Agents of Change are the main Heads, or organizers of TfaC on the ground, and are responsible for running the workshops and activities at the selected schools. AOC's are required to go through specific training in order to be a part of the community's schools. Yami was the AOC we were lucky enough to meet at the school. She was extremely inspiring, grateful and passionate about the work she is doing with Theatre for a Change.
Theatre for A Change is doing exactly that - changing lives one interaction at a time. The human contact and sensitive connections made between students, teachers, and community leaders are nothing short of miraculous. Learning through movement, song, and theatrical exercises can transform lives. Being a part of this journey, even for a day, was a true gift.
Please consider supporting TfaC at tfacafrica.com.