Recently I travelled to Kenema in Sierra Leone with the fantastic charity Hear Their Roar, to work with children on their emotional health, focusing on music and hearts and minds to build relationships. Whilst we were there, we worked in collaboration with the charity Street Child, helping to give support to the social workers, and helping to run training workshops with the teachers in various schools. In order to get out there, I had to raise £1500, which meant that my travel costs, accommodation costs, food, and water were covered whilst facilitating this work. I paid for my own travel insurance, injections, and visa, plus everything needed for staying in a hot country, which worked out at approximately £800 in total from my own pocket. Regardless of the cost, the trip itself was incredible, and all of us on the trip felt that we really made a huge difference to the people that we worked alongside and the children that we worked with.
Whilst preparing for the trip to Sierra Leone, I also agreed to go to Dagoretti in Nairobi, Kenya. When we are in Nairobi, 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. We will also be visiting the slums in Dagoretti, to fully comprehend the struggles and trauma that these young people face on a daily basis. In order to do this, I am still fundraising, and the money raised is being added onto the total that I needed to raise for the trip to Sierra Leone. I will be working hard to fundraise the money myself, but anything donated will be greatly appreciated - even the price of the coffee will make a huge difference.
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.