Creatives Against Poverty is a volunteer collective that donates skills and training tools for social impact.
We build resilience in communities that are struggling with trauma in conflict, disaster and poverty zones.
Those who grow up in abject poverty struggle with frustration, rage and a sense of helplessness. When we are in the field, children constantly tell us: “Why do you bother? We may not be here when you come next.” These children have been stripped not only of food and safety, but even of hope for the future. It is CAP’s mission to convert the moral outrage that we feel into positive action.
With these children and other vulnerable members of communities we run educational workshops through art, music, storytelling, newsroom skills and photography, with the aim of bringing some serenity to their minds, and helping them make sense of the chaos they live in.
We ensure that children are able to exercise their right to play, so that they are in a better position to absorb an education. We offer their parents livelihood training, adult literacy classes, and an opportunity to build the support structures that have been destroyed by decades of conflict and dysfunction, so they can reclaim a sense of dignity and perceive themselves as productive members of their society.
In the midst of civil war, ethnic tensions or political upheaval, we find that children as young as eight display a deep seated sense of resentment against members of other racial/linguistic/ethnic groups. No child is born with hate, and it is inconceivable that they should have to process their world under its debilitating weight. We work to identify the roots of the animosity, drain their hearts and minds of the bitterness they have been exposed to, and show them how to question, rationalise and ultimately reject the rage they feel or the brainwashing they have been subjected to.
Over eleven years of delivering localised, tailor-made tools to help vulnerable communities overcome challenges has taught us that both adults and children learn best through play-based, participatory activities.
We build capacity among frontline field workers battling poverty and injustice. We deliver photography workshops in which we train charities to use news hooks to harness the positive forces of the traditional news media available to them. We run workshops teaching field staff how to write compelling stories that highlight their successes, and train them to take photographs that demonstrate the impact they have had. We devote a lot of time to understanding the needs of our beneficiaries on the ground and we value the input we get from our local partners. We also spend a lot of time debriefing skill donors and helping NGOs to showcase impact and build donor accountability tools. There is no universal solution: our techniques and insistence on flexibility in the field reflect that.
All of our workshops are designed to draw potential solutions from the affected community, so they can exchange ideas and work towards resolving conflicts and creating the change they want to see.
We then run reflection sessions asking the community, children (stake holders) what they learnt from the activities they engaged in, and how these can be implemented in their everyday lives. Often the children and community members are quick to grasp parallels and begin discussions as the activities move towards a conclusion, but we ask them to hold their thoughts until all participants can process and contribute their own observations. We then move towards problem-solving, and work on how how to apply the lessons learnt to real life situations and whether that can be done safely in their particular socio-political environment.
We use a participatory approach that involves communities in research, decision making, developing and implementing programs, paying close attention to the needs of their most vulnerable members; women, children, the elderly and the handicapped, or whoever else finds themselves most marginalised.
We create workshops with participants after understanding their hopes and concerns. We then adapt our game-based model to balance their needs where we can. In the past, teachers, school officers, and project manager have enlisted our workshops to address:
Lack of aspirations
Conflict and crime