by Ann Shrosbree.
These Rights are Mine is a project that explores the rights of the child with young people in Uganda. It uses theatre in secondary schools as a way of encouraging information-sharing and the participation of young people.
Students were given information about human rights for children, based on the UN Charter of Human Rights. They were encouraged to think about the relevance of these in their lives, and also of the responsibilities of young people that go with those rights.
About 180 pupils from six secondary schools in Kampala, Uganda, worked with Small World Theatre, a UK-based theatre group. Each school chose up to five of the rights most important to them to form the basis of a play. Together, pupils researched, planned and practised a play about the ‘rights of the child’ for their school, nearby primary schools, the local community and policy makers. Forty students also took part in three performances for the National Theatre in Kampala which brought a lot of interest from the media.
An exercise known as the ‘Seven Ws’ (see below) was introduced by Small World Theatre as a simple and quick way of creating a story for a central character. This method was developed with Alex Mavrocordatos during participatory theatre training in Nepal with street theatre performers (including Aarohan – see page 4).
This exercise uses seven questions to help create different aspects of the situation of the central character. The questions encourage people to move forward and then back in time, to explore the causes and consequences of the characters’ actions and those of others affected by the situation.
The project aimed to explore what the ‘rights of the child’ actually meant to young people in Uganda. It used participatory theatre to create stories from the experiences of the participants. Sexual abuse within the family emerged as a particularly important theme for these young people. Each group of participants is encouraged to create an interactive play that can be used to educate other students on child rights.
The project is supported in partnership by the British Council, Uganda, and Small World Theatre. For more information, contact Ann Shrosbree, Small World Theatre, PO Box 45, Cardigan, SA43 1WT, UK. E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.smallworld.org.uk