Mar 3, 2017

Community Mobilization Report Jan-March 2017

Ana Clara - selling dreams for laughter!
Ana Clara - selling dreams for laughter!

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters!

 

Since our last report, we have largely been focusing on reports, evaluations, planning and target setting.  You can find the Portuguese version of our Annual Report on our website, a summary version in English will follow soon.

 

In the meantime, we wanted to share with you a very poetic text written by Ana Clara, who’s 17 and involved in both the V2 Theater Group and the Vila Jovem Youth Group.   In the text, Ana Clara tells an imaginary stranger how she feels about being on stage:

 

Dear Somebody, once they asked me what my dream was, then I thought, and thought and thought a little bit more, but in the end I didn’t know what to say, not for lack of dreams, but because of the immense number that I have.  I am overflowing with dreams, I am overflowing in my smile, my look, my words, my soul, and particularly on the stage.

On the stage we are free spirits, with dreams to give and sell, but we don’t sell these dreams for money, we sell them for laughter, feelings and emotions. The stage is my origin, the stage is my house, my safe harbor, I am a bird flying over skies and other things.  Away from it I feel empty, incomplete. Perhaps my greatest dream, dear somebody, is to sell dreams, to sell them through my art, my texts, my music and poetry.

Sincerely, from somebody else.

 

Ana Clara joined the group four years ago, having (unwillingly!) moved with her family from the south of Brazil to the state of Bahia.  This is what she has to say about her experiences:

 

Joining the theater group helped me a lot, I didn’t want to know about anything else, the theater made me accept Bahia… What motivates me to stay are the people, the NGO, everything here has been so important... because it changed what I am, it taught me what I can be. I feel very happy at Viva a Vida, I feel good, sometimes when I have a problem, I run over here, this is my safe haven.  Here, people can be what they want to be, here I can be myself, here I lost half my shyness.  This has helped me in several ways, before, if I fell over in the street, I would want to hide my head in a hole, I would be so embarrassed, now I just laugh at things.

 

If I hadn’t learnt what I have learnt at Viva a Vida I wouldn’t have any friends at school, because I didn’t know how to approach people.  At home, I didn’t talk to my family, today I talk more, but talk back less (laughs).  I am already thinking of several things for university: performing arts, cinema or audio-visual arts to direct plays or studying letters. This is because of the influence and my love of theater.

 

Congratulations to Ana Clara for her very powerful and moving words! 

Another achievement during this period was our presentation to high school teachers at their Annual Planning Day.  Vinicius, one of our long-term participants, joined us in setting out our 2017 plans for school-based Human Rights workshops and other activities.  Vinicius led the group activities and presented the monologue he has written, which addresses mental health issues.  We were particularly struck by what the teachers had to say about the positive impact of Viva a Vida’s work on their students and how they can tell which of their students are participating in our activities because of their improved attitudes and behavior.  They have seen these students develop critical thinking, improve their self-esteem and learn to respect differences. 

 

Our team and young participants ran some community-based activities in January and February, all thanks to YOUR donations.  Here’s a brief summary:

 

  • The Vila Jovem Youth Group continued their poetry meetings and worked on editing their video about Vila de Abrantes.  They have since presented this to:

 

  • 20 young members of a local capoeira group (see attached photo)
  • 80 high school students at CEVA, the local high school
  • 8 outpatients at the local Psychosocial (Mental Health) Center

 

  • The V2 Theater Group ran a fantastic open seminar to present one of their most important references, Augusto Boal of Theater for the Oppressed, to the community.  The young people discussed his theories and practices and then used some of these techniques to interact with the 13 community invitees.

 

  • The Centre for Psychosocial Care for Drugs and Alcohol in the city of Camaçari ran a lively “Carnival Shout Out” for 40 of their services users, families and community members, in order to publicize their services, integrate the center with the local community and celebrate Carnival.  The V2 Theatre Group lit up the event with a presentation of Ana Clara’s monologue and other activities. 
Watching the Youth Group's video
Watching the Youth Group's video

Links:

Dec 7, 2016

Viva a Vida Community Mobilization Report Sept-Dec 2016

Lucas - a young poet and activist!
Lucas - a young poet and activist!

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters!

Thanks to your amazing support, we have started our Community Mobilization work with young people from our Vila Jovem Youth Group and V2 Theatre Group.  Two of our young participants would like to tell you a little bit about how this has affected them.

Here’s Lucas, he’s 17 and an active participant in several projects:

When you write poetry you can show what you are really thinking.  And in my case things got better, because I was sad and now I feel happy.

Here at Viva a Vida we have freedom, but above all we have to respect one another.  When we learn this respect we are able to live together, with anyone and everyone.  And when we can live together we can do things for our community.

Since our campaign started, Alice (who is 16) has twice performed (in)Dependencies, a play devised and staged by our V2 Theatre Group which promotes debates in the community. Reflecting on her role as the ‘good’ daughter in a ‘perfect’ family in which there is a lot of hidden aggression and unhappiness, Alice says:

The theater has influenced my personal life a great deal, my character... tries to maintain her sanity … maybe she thinks that love and affection could exist, but in reality she doesn’t see this. And this question of appearance is very similar to my family… I can see strength in my character...  I have always been very psychologically fragile and I didn’t believe in myself, but with the theater I have overcome my shyness and I discovered that I can do more for myself than simply crying.

Here I feel respected, they accept me as I am.  Although there are so many people different from me.  Many different ways of thinking and acting, different sexualities, but I feel comfortable here. 

Some numbers!  Community-based activities from September to December 2016, which have been supported by YOUR donations:

  • 10 young people attended a poetry slam event in the city of Salvador
  • 52 adults and young people participated in our evening debate on Violence and the Genocide of Black Youth
  • 5 young people and 3 adults attended our confidential Mothers for Diversity meeting to debate relationships between parents and their LGBT children
  • 12 young people participated in a poetry reading, to read their own and other poems
  • 26 adults attended our Expressing Love and Affection discussion for parents at a local crèche
  • 160 community members attended two performances of the V2 Theater Group play (in)Dependencies
  • 7 young people and one parent attended a Youth in Focus Event focusing on Equality, Communication, Safety, Culture and Education in the city of Salvador

Note for next report – from 15th December to 31st January, while school is in recess, we will be focusing on reports, evaluations, planning and target setting for 2017.  This means that there will be less activities in our next but a lot will be going on behind the scenes!

Alice - a young actor and playwright!
Alice - a young actor and playwright!
Youth debate
Youth debate
Poetry reading
Poetry reading

Links:

 
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