Lefika La Phodiso had the opportunity to work with two brilliant organisations in the past term, namely Adapt and Re-imagine.
ADAPT – Community Art Counsellor, Thabo Rakereng, and drama therapy intern, Vasintha Pather, spent five days in Alexandra at ADAPT. They created a programme for adolescents to help them deal with their life challenges, and to empower young people to recognise and combat gender-based violence. The participants were from Alexandra and have been involved with ADAPT’s programmes to varying degrees over the past five years. Participant ages ranged from 14 to 18, and there was an even mix of males and females in the group. The average size of the groups were 19 participants.
The programme combined art, drama, storytelling, music and movement. The primary aim of the intervention was to build internal resources in participants, given the challenging social and familial contexts that they were likely living in. Sessions were designed to facilitate acknowledging personal strengths and developing the capacity to identify and express their emotions, which was informed by their developmental stage, the socio-environmental context they were from, and the initial assessments conducted. Assessments were conducted daily at the start and end of each session, and participants were invited to colour in an image in the shape of a person in order to express their feelings.
We found that many participants took real pleasure in their creativity. Creativity is a key indicator of resilience. Through the art and drama, the key themes of choice, love and peace emerged. Sub-themes relating to these included ‘loving myself first’, ‘valuing one another’, ‘togetherness’, ‘hope’, and ‘dignity’.
RE-IMAGINE – Four of our Community Art Counsellors, Ntombi Sangweni, Memory, Gugu Manana and Thabo Rakereng spent two afternoons at the Alhambra Theatre in Doornfontein with the pilot groups of Re-imagine. Using the Courage Child Protection Programme as methodology, the children identified a list of places and experiences as “safe” and “unsafe”.
Community Art Counsellors reflected that what stood out for them during the session was that the learners can’t speak to their parents or teachers about anything but they really want to. A counsellor said “I wish I could meet the children’s parents and share with them what their children are experiencing outside (and in) their homes. Hopefully we can change how they treat their children.”
The need for safe spaces for children to express themselves and open up about their experiences also came up as a big theme during these sessions.