Making Theatre for Development in Peshawar, Pakistan

14th May 2014

Inside Pan
Beyond Pan

It’s been nearly one year since Pan conducted the Training of Trainers in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka, for a mixed group of young leaders and NGO workers from Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

As part of that project, funded by the British Council, Pan awarded 3 implementation grants to organisations (led by participants of the training) to tackle a social issue using techniques of theatre for development in their communities. The three projects are now up and running in Peshawar and we are pleased to tell you more about the brilliant and exciting work they are doing…

The experience of Ranra group: Scream down sexual harassment.

It was very exciting to speak with Wagma and Momin, courageous leaders of Ranra, about their project “Da thor sarro sadar”(Bringing light to dark) aimed at empowering women in their workplace to challenge sexual harassment.

Ranra conducted two trainings with a total of 40 nurses aged 24-45 incorporating Human Rights discussion on their theatre training. Wagma and Momin told us that their work has encountered several obstacles, both within the management of the Hospitals, Postgraduate School of Nursing and the same women participating in the training.  To talk about Human Rights is not an easy task in the KPK area of Pakistan, nor is the use of the word Theatre, deemed as extremely suspicious!

Some of the women in the training at first resisted speaking about Human Rights, as they perceived them as a product of western countries. However The Ranra team has been very determined to break through the resistance and told us that they could notice great changes in the participants and in partner organisations. In one example, one of the nurses told the group that she was regularly the object of unwanted attentions by the driver of the bus she would take to go to work and that after the training she decided to speak up and and tell the man she wouldn’t accept anymore of that behaviour. Wagma and Momin also told us that some of the nurses took great pleasure in creating theatrical pieces and decided to set up a Drama Society to keep practising the skills they had learned.

Ranra has a third training planned for this month, that will incorporate participants from both training sessions and will end in a Forum Theatre performance. The audience will be made of staff from the Hospital and the carers of the patients, who apparently are the ones more likely to abuse the nurses.

We shall report back soon with more updates and let you know about the audience reaction to the Forum Theatre play...

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