On day 5 of the workshop, time was allocated in the morning for reflections on the week’s work before the whole group departed for Geneva. JM prefaced the meeting by congratulating the group on what had been achieved. In keeping with general workshop practice, it was made clear that feedback should be entirely open to include criticism as well as praise. This is an account of the main points raised.
Sanjeevani Munasinghe, Deputy Manager of Programmes at the British Council Sri Lanka, had travelled with the Shakthi Group to Switzerland and was present throughout the workshop. She expressed her admiration at the level of commitment by all participants and spoke of her desire to reconvene the Act 2 group in Sri Lanka.
Clement followed on with a remark of gratitude for the introduction to a type of theatre that he wanted to pursue in his work with communities in South Sudan. He was particularly interested in using aspects of Image Theatre in an awareness raising campaign ahead of South Sudan’s secession vote.
Rowina was also grateful for the chance to learn a new form of artistic practice and was keen to introduce the main ideas learnt in the workshop to the youth group she works with in Zimbabwe. She extended thanks to EJ for his teachings on leadership and to the Shakthi Group for providing the experience of a working Forum Theatre model.
Afrah told the group that on return home, the challenge would now be greater than it ever had been as participants had developed a greater awareness of humanitarian issues and were leaving with new skills and ideas in the pursuit of change.
Humairi seconded Afrah’s sentiment, saying that we cannot carry on the way we are, that we are all charged with the task of making a difference.
Gabriel expressed his gratitude, as one of the few participants not to have been implicated directly in trauma or conflict, to be able to take back a range of tools and renewed understanding of the effects of conflict to his work with indigenous peoples in Peru.
Charles said he had come to the workshop expecting the ‘typical drama classes’ he attends in Kenya; instead he was introduced to a type of work that had instilled in him a sense of personal potential and confidence.
Ezma echoed Charles’ point on expectations saying that the experience was completely different to other workshops she had attended in the past and that this had been a turning point in her thinking about work in Georgia.
Nalinda was delighted at the level of enthusiasm from participants throughout the workshop; he went on to say ‘what we are doing here is studying our lives, the more I think it over, the more I feel’.
Rashika was thankful to all those who played a part in enabling her to travel outside Sri Lanka for the first time. She regretted not being able to communicate and respond to the stories of Charles and Hippolyte on their experiences in the Rwandan genocide. She said that one of her goals on return was to pursue her study of English and open the way for future dialogue.
EJ was grateful to the British Council for the opportunity to attend the workshop. He mentioned that unlike the majority of his speaking engagements, he hadn’t come as someone who had to tell his story, rather he felt energised and humbled at having met and listened to other people’s experiences.