Emotional Recovery Programs
We create community-led workshops that help our clients deal with the challenges and issues they identify in the implementation of their programs (race issues to raising aspirations). We do this by using game-based activities that result in fun, relaxed, social interactions, the sum of which lead to quantifiable outcomes that match our partners values and goals.
Stories for change
Completed: Khwendor Kor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nowa, IRC and Developments in Literacy in Sindh, Pakistan. Youth Progressive Foundation, Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. Mesco, Mumbra, Mumbai. Doorstep schools, Ambedkar nagar slums, Mumbai. Ongoing: Developments in Literacy, IRC and Nowa, Urban and Rural Sindh, Pakistan.
Storytelling workshops that allow children, youth, and community members to explore issues that are difficult to bring up without a fictional framework because of cultural taboos. We explore issues like honour killing, early child marriage, child labour and drugs. There are stories that help educators allow students to examine and cope with emotions like anger, jealousy, bullying and negative behaviours like substance abuse, lashing out and disproportional, destructive reactions. We have developed a set of workshops that allow our clients: children, women, youth and the elderly to build their own adventure stories that allow them to take a personal distance from issues/ tragedies/ crisis in the community and move towards problem-solving and critical thinking through the process.
Community Action Program
On going: Khwendor Kor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nowa, IRC and Developments in Literacy in Sindh, Pakistan. Youth Progressive Foundation, Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. Mesco, Mumbra, Mumbai. Doorstep schools, Ambedkar nagar slums, Mumbai. Ongoing: Developments in Literacy, IRC and Nowa, Urban and Rural Sindh, Pakistan.
When we find that youth or children sound particularly disenfranchised, we implement our community action program. Over a nine-week program, clients spend three weeks learning how to identify the issues that affect their community and using skills like critical thinking, problem solving and developing resilience to cope with those issues. The next three weeks are spent watching inspiring videos and hearing uplifting stories about child and youth activists who took positive steps to engage and heal their communities. As they deconstruct the methodology that ordinary people use to create extraordinary change, they start to let go of feelings of frustration and helplessness and move towards taking control of their own paths, articulating goals and identifying the change they want to see and how they can use available resources and stakeholders to make it happen.
Movement and music therapy
(Aas, Children in drug rehab, Malir, Karachi Pakistan) (Rwanda, Malawi, Congo workshops with CAP Touch of Magic program, DIL, Nowa, IRC (Pakistan) Mosaic (across London), Golborne road project MSS (London), Somali refugee support program (south London), Doorstep schools, Mesco (Mumbai) Speak street (London), Georges Malaika (Congo)
We believe in adding a component of movement, and music to all our programs. Individuals raised in conflict zones struggle to shake the horror of their past as they settle into host countries, music allows them a moment’s respite. For that time and space our beneficiaries are transported to a happy place in their imagination. We seek to hold that space and help them explore new found skills and inspiration on that space. We find that music and movement-oriented workshops create a level playing field where we move and sing as one: within that format there is also the opportunity for our beneficiaries and clients teaching us about their own diverse cultural and musical traditions, reversing the hierarchy, nurturing a sense of empowerment and creating an inclusive environment.
Graffiti and street art as a tool to explore community engagement
(Students emerging from knife-gang violence (Harrow road), Mosaic mentoring students and their mothers (East London) English conversation in a social environment (Speak street, London)
Taking students/ clients/ beneficiaries out of their classroom environment to explore Shoreditch/ Hoxton/ Bethnal Green, alongside graffiti artists or art gallery curators. We explore the concept of graffiti as democratic art and the artists and/or curators talk to the group about the motivations of the artists, inviting them to share their visual and conceptual interpretations.
Trekking and mountain climbing
Completed: (Saathi (Mumbai), AAS Children in Drug rehab (Karachi), DIL (Khairpur, KPK), Kalash tribe (Hindukush mountains), Akha Hmong tribe that used to cultivate opium, Nepal.
Taking homeless and rough sleeping youth to the mountains so they can relax their minds, and ease away from feeling like they are in a survival existence, so they come out of flight or fight mode and slump into themselves, slowly becoming alert to the sights and sounds and feel of nature. In an urban environment we use parks, gardens, flower arrangement, and the creation of vertical gardens using plastic bottles and herbs for the same effect. For example in mountainous regions, we show youth in villages who express frustration at the lack of opportunities in rural communities how they can use their knowledge of special spots, great views and ridge trails to create careers as trekking guides.
Street League, AAS, Mesco, Doorstep schools, Centre for Speech and Hearing Impaired, Youth Progressive foundation
We use theatre techniques to create comedy workshops. We ask all students to share something that made them laugh. We discuss slapstick comedy, and then we turn towards subtle concepts like irony. We also talk of not hurting each other, not targeting people, not being dismissive and avoiding sarcasm as a tool for humour. Our students and beneficiaries have amazed us with their results. This worked especially well on our homeless, ex-offenders and unemployed youth in London program.
Immersive story-telling, art and craft workshops
Often our beneficiaries talk of crisis situations and serious subject matter. We steer them towards a more positive arena by visualising a world where all is well and where all children, youth and older community members are free to contribute to the building of a healthy society. We do this by creating immersive environments that also allow clients to enjoy a playful side of their creativity. When a group of girls felt excluded from a lot of opportunities in British mainstream society because of their hijab in Tower Hamlets for e.g., we asked a CAP officer who led ‘crafternoons’ to help our Benglai students and their mothers make hats and fascinators that fit over their hijaabs. When their Muslim Bengali mothers told us they had never been past a three-street parameter of their neighbourhood, and that they worried that the artist community may be a bad influence on their children, we asked the cafes and artists in Brick lane to host groups of our clients for teas so that they could start support groups and self-help groups that took them outside the conservative environment of their homes.
(Developments in Literacy, Pakistan), Doorstep schools (Mumbai), Mesco (Mumbai) Aangan (Mumbai), Kashmir Education foundation (Kashmir Pakistan), Garage schools (Karachi)
What's this iteWe use theatre techniques in every one of our workshops because it allows our clients a simple way to take in material. A role play or a script designed for beneficiaries is easier to read than instructions. We also find that when youth or children write scripts or improvise, they take a certain distance from personal issues and are able to frame these issues to create an open dialogue. We also use this methodology on our Life Skills education program to guide youth towards identifying the change they want to see inside themselves. We see theatre as an edutainment tool, not just to practice vocabulary and develop self-confidence, but also to provoke dialogue and discussion on topics relevant to communities in crisis or vulnerable communities. Over eleven years the youth we have worked with have used this platform to examine prejudices, and show the destructive aspects of some belief systems that are sometimes imported with migration from other more rigid or extreme or conservative or survival societies can be confusing for youth as they negotiate their journey in a liberal western environment (for example refugee youth found it difficult at first to sit next to youth (in class) who identified with ethnic or religious backgrounds that they had been taught to fear/hate by their parents, however, after a rational-thinking and problem-solving program the youth launched a set of skits to celebrate diversity). Alongside the exploration of feelings, attitudes and behaviours, we can tailor our workshops to be curriculum-led, reinforcing lessons from an NGO’s existing curriculum in a format that allows everyone to relax and engage. When you are creating or enjoying a theatrical production, your guide is down. m about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...
We have two ways of creating experiences that allow our clients or beneficiaries to experience something magical. Either we flood a program with volunteers trained in flexibility, resilience, adaptability life skills and have them create an immersive environment (a market in Marakesh with traders and stalls and nomads and tourists to practice English or a more structured e.g. a career skills session where we took over a building and installed our Creatives in different rooms where they help real life simulation interviews.
Education and Life skills programs
We structure our programs to drain hatred, anger, frustration from the hearts of children and their communities. We help ethnic communities that are at odds with each other move towards conflict resolution. We train teachers and field operatives to run a life skills curriculum that is tailored to the needs of their client group. We run sessions framed within the context of community action project that help people fight the hopeless and frustration fuelled by the inability to participate in making decisions that affect them.
Film and Photography empowerment
(Citizens against Weapons - draining hatred from young hearts, Pakistan) (Mosaic, London), (DIL, Nowa, IRC, Kwendor Kor, Pakistan all regions), (Saathi, Mumbai) (Doorstep Schools) (Experimental workshops in life skills also run at various projects in Vietnam, Cambodia, Kalaash valley, Philippines, Congo, Rwanda, Malawi, Pakistan and India over eleven years)
We train children and youth to use film and photography to explore their own journeys towards empowerment. We show them how to take a kernel of an idea and develop it into a full blown feature story, photo essay or documentary. Sometimes our newsroom skills workshops are entirely run as spoken reportage, especially in environment where we work with youth who have trouble with reading and writing but who are great at articulating issues in their community using a broadcast medium. The workshops are designed to document and raise awareness against the injustices our clients or beneficiaries identify.
Ongoing: Developments in Literacy, IRC and Nowa, Urban and Rural Sindh, Pakistan
We offer librarians in conflict-ridden countries the tools to engage students dealing with trauma. We train librarians in running story-telling sessions and using expression and tone and movement and sound to inspire their students. We participate in library interventions, send in our teachers and students so they can experience the playful magic that collaborators like the Sindh Reading Program create at US AID, or the far-reaching Librarian trainings we run with Developments in Literacy in the most isolated communities of Pakistan, or the playful aspects of learning that emerge when we run a CAP workshop that allows stories to come to life, when we pull together the Art, English, and IT instructors to help children create an immersive theatre environment as they tell “Stories for Change” children’s stories that we write, in collaboration with head teachers and teachers, project managers and founders and sometimes the children themselves, to help children manage their emotions.