Fyness's project Tiunikilane used art art therapy.
It’s a wrap! At the end of 2019, the cohort of Dreamers who focused on creative freedom of expression finished their training, graduated, and hosted the final cultural event.
The final training for the Dreamers included learning more about leadership and what it means to be a leader in society. Session topics included communications, conflict resolution, facilitation, and leadership.
As part of the focus on creative freedom of expression, we hosted a couple special cultural art showcases. The showcases were included several artists from different art mediums such as poetry, dance, music, spoken word, and visual art. The first event, in early November, also served as a chance for this year’s Dreamers to meet the artists, learn from them, and see their work in action, so the artists who mentored them during the day time now showcased their talents. More than 50 people came and saw the art on display and the performances from the poets and musicians.
In December, we held the graduation ceremony for the Dreamers which then transitioned into the second arts showcase. At the graduation ceremony, the Dreamers displayed the work that came out of their projects, including poetry, songs, and a visual representation made out of old cassette tapes representing the journey taken by the participants in expressing themselves creatively. In the evening, we welcomed the public. The Dreamers continued to showcase their work and we had performances by an incredible range of artists: poets Menes La Plume, Phindu Banda, Nyocase, and singer-songwriter Anne Quinn. The performances were lively and the attendees loved hearing about the Dreamers’ projects and the creativity.
Spotlight on the Dreams
Baller Kunthanzi is a project that aimed at empowering girls to participate and excel in male dominated sports. They had three interventions with their secondary school girl athletes. Working with a group of 17 girls for their first phase, they held soccer and basketball session with the girls, teaching them the sport and how to play. They then gave the girls a trip to Chancellor Collage, where the girls got to tour the sports facility, meet a few female players who served as role models for them, and got to watch a motivational film. Later they worked with the boys at the school and educated them on creating an open space for both genders.
Fyness Gondwe is studying to be a nurse at Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS). She co-founded the project Tiunikilane, a project aimed at using art to help adolescents living with HIV understand their condition, cope with the unique challenges this provides, and have a meaningful and successful life. She applied for Students with Dreams with the idea, unsure of herself and if she could accomplish the mission of the project. Fyness had a rough start; MCHS closed when she was still trying to establish the project and get the necessary approvals from hospital authorities to begin the project. She was living outside of Zomba which also slowed down the process. Another blow came in the form of a shutdown of the initial partner organisation that was going to connect the project with beneficiaries. Despite all this, Fyness sought help form ArtGlo and her mentors, who arranged and connected her to a organisation. With all of these challenges, Fyness’s partner left the project, leaving her to manage the everything solo. Not to be discouraged, she pushed through and even found a new partner, Molicia Chilinda, who shared her same passion and drive to carry out the project. Fyness and Molicia were able to get full approval and consent to start working with the youth and the project took off with 10 young people.
Finally being able to implement Tiunikilane gave Fyness great joy. She found the participant response particularly encouraging, as they opened up on issues they did not feel like telling others, especially during the one on one sessions. The model used by Fyness will continue as the sessions were fun for both the facilitator and the participants, and the participants developed art of their own. She learned, over the course of the programme, to reach people’s hearts and get them to open up about the things that were on their mind. The end products displayed by the project were a testament to the time, care, and effort that was put into the project by her and her project partner. It was quite the transformation seeing her go from a shy, timid young woman who we initially interviewed, to the go-getter that pushed to make her dream come true. Fyness wants to continue with the project and we are looking forward to seeing where things go from here.
Maya with Baller Kunthazi participants.