Arts as a process of rehabilitation and empowerment of underprivileged children and youth, especially girls
Arts can play a very effective role in marginalized children and young people’s personality grooming, emotional stability and confidence building.
Through our experience with organizations working in child rights and child protection, we have demonstrated that the collective sessions based on arts play a vital role to open up children, so they can share and express themselves. The process works like therapeutic sessions, where the notion of sharing transforms children and young people. They are open to express and receive ideas, which facilitate them to overcome their fears and regain confidence.
The use of theatre or drama as a process of therapy (in games, improvisation, storytelling, role play) and “products” (puppets, masks, plays/performances) helps the victims to understand their thoughts and emotions better and to eventually improve their behavior. Unlike most types of therapy which rely purely on talking (psychoanalysis was, after all, called “the talking cure”), drama therapy relies on taking action and doing things!
The challenge to take in these workshops is that the participants come from different social backgrounds; they also had experiences and histories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and might have suffered the worst traumatic experience of their lives.
We have worked with a number of groups while making partnerships with the following organizations.
Sheed is a community-based organization addressing the social problems faced by marginalized children and females, in particular by the local female sex-workers and their children who suffer from oppression, poverty, illiteracy and abuse.
The theatre workshop was designed to impart some basic theatre skills through various theatre games and exercises to the children of sex-workers in Lahore. It aimed to open up children to share and exchange, and eventually prepare a short performance for Children’s Performing Arts Festival 2011.
The performance was presented in the Festival, among others performances from privileged schools of Lahore, to promote inclusiveness and equal right to creative learning opportunities of all children.
Pahchaan is proactive on the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child through objective measures for protection and empowerment of children against abuse and neglect, building the capacity of care givers, and creating awareness amongst duty bearers (parents, service providers, and government) and masses.
The theatre training workshop was developed to facilitate the street children towards positive and healthy attitudes. In the process, they had fun, a very important element of any child-related activity, and also gained confidence to work in groups and express themselves.
A short performance was prepared by the children and was performed in The Little Art’s Children’s Performing Arts Festival 2011 among other groups and schools.
Sach is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Islamabad/Rawalpindi working for the rehabilitation of the victims of traumatic human rights abuses through a multidisciplinary approach that includes inter alia offering shelter, medical treatment, and psychological support to survivors of state, domestic and other kinds of abuses - especially to women and children.
The drama/theatre therapy workshop was designed to practice theatre as a process of psycho-social development, personality grooming and healing of marginalized, especially street children. The workshop was the combination of drama/theatre techniques and psychological intervention methods. It was designed to impart some basic theatre skills through theatre games, exercises and improvisation methods with the objective to promote the emotional and social well being of those children who were being suppressed by society, in order to make them feel comfortable enough to express themselves, and to achieve a positive change in their personality though the medium of theatre/ drama.
The workshop duration was of four weeks and three hours long per day. The first two weeks of the training was dedicated to the process of leaning theatre skills and technique though theatre games and exercises; this further led the children to improvise a short theatre performance based on the issues and rights of the child in the society. The performance was presented in The Little Art’s European Union National ChildRight Arts Festival 2011, Islamabad.
There were almost 15 workshop participants in the 8-16 year old age group and from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Azad Kashmir.
Acid Survivors Foundation
Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Pakistan was founded in 2006 with the support of a UK-based organization: Acid Survivors Trust International was developed to support survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan. ASF-Pak provides medical, psychosocial and legal support to the victims of acid attacks to ensure physical reconstruction and reintegration into mainstream society. ASF-Pak also has initiatives to engage the media and overall society in the implementation of prevention activities.
The whole workshop was in connection with psychological application and principals to ensure the participants that theatre/drama training is full of fun and the safest and the best medium to achieve personality grooming, emotional stability, confidence building, and regaining self-esteem and also serves source of catharsis as well after experiencing the worst.
The workshop duration was fifteen days and three hours long per day. The first days of the training were dedicated to the process of learning theatre skills and technique through theatre games and exercises and the other days were spent in the process of preparing a short theatre performance. This performance was based on the real life stories of young girls who have been a victim of the most horrified form of violence like acid burned violence against women. The performance was presented in The Little Art’s European Union National ChildRight Arts Festival 2011, Islamabad.