The Hear Our Voice Kenya Project
The participants of Hear Our Voice, whom Action for Children in Conflict in Kenya already work with and support, are provided with a creative, safe, expressive and educational environment in which to learn new skills and share with other young people their experiences on the streets and in abusive homes and relationships. The participants are offered performance arts training opportunities and benefit from valuable life and social skills, such as improved language ability, improved confidence, self reflection, patience, problem solving and concentration skills.
The project also offers valuable opportunities for cultural exchange between the UK and Kenya and employment opportunities for young local artists in a country with over 80% youth unemployment. Local artists are employed to run workshops to enable the development of dance and music pieces to enrich and support the plays and monologues as they are taken into schools, theatres and onto the radio in Thika and Kenya wide, and potentially in time, to the UK.
The voices of these young people are rarely heard and yet they are demanding to be heard, making Hear Our Voice vitally important both as a means of advocacy and as a means of directly engaging with those who experience these difficult and sensitive issues.
At Thika District Hospital a child reports rape every single day; children are beaten daily on the streets whilst seeking food; drunken mothers and fathers are observed neglecting their children and failing to put them into school. These are some of the issues that can and should be tackled using the voices and experiences of those directly affected.
Theatre and other performing arts are valuable tools in mobilising communities and generating awareness, achieving significant positive impact in changing behaviours and improving understanding on controversial, highly sensitive issues. Enabling the participation of those most affected and disadvantaged also enables powerful peer education and gives new educational opportunities to those who are normally denied such chances in Kenya.
The cultural exchange of knowledge, practice and ideas with the link between the UK and Kenya also consolidates and expands the reach and impact of the project, changing and improving the lives of the street children and female victims and providing them with new skills, new understanding and less stigma with which to face the future and the communities in which they live.
Action for Children in Conflict in Kenya: Brief Background
Action for Children in Conflict is a small non-governmental organisation working in Thika, Kenya to break cycles of violence, hatred and despair by providing psychological, emotional and educational support for survivors of conflict to enable these survivors to come to terms with their past experiences, make the most of their present and build a better future.
We focus on children and young people as we believe that they are the most vulnerable in conflict situations but also the most able to overcome problems in their communities to bring about positive change in the future.
Log on to www.actionchildren.org for full background, history and details.
All extract, photo and video content on this site is under exclusive copyright © Christopher Rhys Howarth. Its use, reproduction or distribution without permission is strictly forbidden. All Rights Reserved.