My name is Penny, and next February, I am heading out to Kenema, Sierra Leone for two weeks with the brilliant charity Hear Their Roar, in collaboration with Street Child. Whilst we are there, we will be working with the street kids and running music and drama workshops, as well as discussion groups that will cover issues that directly affect the children in their day-to-day life. In order to do this, I need to raise £1500 to get me there, which will pay for accommodation, flights, security, food, water, transport, and at the end of the two weeks, we will be taking 48 hours at a retreat to adjust back to what we would class as normality.
This is not going to be a holiday by any means - our accommodation will be basic, potentially with no electricity, holes in the floor for a toilet, and our food will be the same as the locals eat, with lots of carbs to fill us up and apparently lots of plantain (which I have been told is a vegetable that looks like a banana, but tastes nowhere near as nice!). We will also be visiting the slums to see the conditions that the street kids have to live in. The amount I'm raising does not cover visas, injections, and travel insurance, so that is something that I will pay for separately.
Whilst we are there, we will be using singing and drama to build relationships with the young people and from there to start conversations that matter to the young people. For example, conversations on identity, self-worth, resilience, choice, hope, decision making, friends, consent, self-control, shame and blame culture, confidence, bravery, courage and anger.
We aim to empower them to think and to unpack their thoughts and ideas and to come to conclusions that work for them.
Hear Their Roar believe strongly that performing arts is the perfect medium to renew identity, to create effective change and to restore hope, and that it should be accessible to all. This then links into the transformation process which is a necessity for emotional health and trauma healing. This is something that I wholeheartedly believe in, as being a musician has got me through times when I have really struggled with my own mental health. If we can use music and drama to help these kids feel more self worth, and as though their lives can change for the better, then hopefully that seed will stay with them throughout their lives. When we do the drama workshops, we will be acting out situations that the street kids struggle to figure out an answer for, and hopefully that will give them an idea of what they can do to help themselves when those situations arise. It could be as simple as how to stop another person stealing their shoes while they sleep, or how to be strong without using violence in a difficult situation. These kids struggle to come up with ways to change their lives, as they are so dehydrated that they simply don't have the mental stamina to think in the same way that we do.
This is such an incredible way to help these children gain hope and self worth, and hopefully give them the power to change their lives for the better. These children have literally nothing, so just going out there to be there for them will hopefully make a difference in their lives. Even the smallest donation will make a massive difference to me getting out there to help, so please give what you can, even if it is just the price of your morning coffee. I've attached Hear Their Roar's objectives below so that you can see exactly what we can do whilst we are there. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, and I hope that you can help me to get out there and make a difference.
Lots of love,
The charity’s objects (‘Objects’) are specifically restricted to the following
4.1 These are our Objects:
4.1.1 To aid in the relief of suffering and summary injustice afforded to children and young people when parties or broader society acts without regard for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
4.1.2 To promote engagement with, and advancement of thought in, those individuals and societal leaders in positions which can influence behaviours in areas of conflict with the convention.
4.1.3 To support the mental wellbeing of children and young people affected by situations where knowledge, social norms, dilution of rights or overt disregard for the rights set out in the convention is present through:
(a) Engagement with communities and leaders around the purpose and philosophy behind the UNCRC.
(b) Engagement with affected children and young people to allow them a platform to express their experiences, their voices, their stories and develop them into a performance through the use of a core portfolio of verbal and non-verbal methodologies based around the performing arts.
(c) Support of recreational and leisure activities in the interest of overall social welfare and recovery from traumatic experiences.
(d) Encouragement for incremental social change in the communities visited and support for the proliferation of this local cultural change to neighbouring communities.