FindYourVoice - Empowerment Storytelling Workshops

Communication and confidence building sessions
  • Use as icebreaker activity at astart of the day or after lunch

  • Sessions 1 & 2 should have been run during Fundamentals

  • If you didn't, start with session 1

1. Why FindYourVoice?

It was noticed by CYF staff and volunteers the need to get to know students better and in other capacities as well as for the trainees to bond, integrate and feel part of a group.

2. What is FindYourVoice?

FindYourVoice is a programme that utilises theatre as an essential tool to raise self-esteem, develop communication skills and support refugees and disadvantaged individuals, in finding their own voice. It provides a safe space where people feel encouraged to take risks, share experiences, self reflect and take control of their own lives.

The idea of safe space is based on the following:

  1. Active listening

  2. Non confrontational approach

  3. Be vulnerable

  4. Be supportive

  5. Take responsibility for yourself and others

  6. Do not judge

  7. Focus on solutions

  8. Value every/ each opinion and ideas

  9. Build relationships out of comfort zone

  10. Recognize being part of a community

3. Programme framework

a. Methodology

Pedagogy of the oppressed

Pedagogy of the oppressed is a methodology created by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire in 1968. It proposes a new relationship between teacher, student and society. Freire calls the traditional model of education as ‘banking education’ where the teachers, the ones who hold the knowledge, fill the students, considered empty vessels, with knowledge. He says that in the traditional model, students patiently receive information, memorize and repeat, and instead proposes that pedagogy should treat the learners as co-creators of knowledge, being able to dialog, negotiate and think critically.

b. Method

Theatre of the oppressed

Theatre of the oppressed is a method created by the Brazilian theatre director, Augusto Boal aiming for peripheral groups (the oppressed) to be in charge of their own stories, cultural production, knowledge and the ‘right to be oneself’. Boal also created a series of drama games that allows actors and/or non-actors to dialog, exchange experiences and discuss actions for social change.

c. Theory

What is empowerment?

Empowerment as a theory is intertwined with the strategic social development and the recovery of individual’s potential as well as intellectual emancipation. Empowerment aims at the liberation of an oppressed group. Groups can be under oppression for their race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability and/or nationality and more.

According to the Doctor of Philosophy Nelly Stromquist, empowerment consists in 4 dimensions:

  1. Cognitive: ability to think critically

  2. Psychological: feeling of self-esteem

  3. Political: understand power dynamics and inequalities and the ability to work towards social changes.

  4. Economic: ability to generate income independently.

d. Concept

Decolonisation

Decoloniality or decolonization is a concept developed by a collective of primarily Latin American scholars aiming at liberation of (ex -) colonized people from global coloniality. Decolonization is also considered a way of thinking, knowing and doing.

In order to understand the concept of decoloniality, it is essential to understand the concept of coloniality first. Coloniality of power describes a set of interrelated practices, whose origins trace to the project of European colonialism. It is constituted through the co-presence of three fundamental elements: domination, exploitation and conflict. Furthermore, a system of racial hierarchy is recognized as the foundation upon which the modern world is structured. Within this hierarchy, the European subject is posited as superior to all others; conversely, other subjects — those colonized, those enslaved — were posited as expendable. Concurrently, a system of knowledge which postulates European culture as superior is enforced and maintained, as a relation between ‘subject’ and ‘object’”.

Having said that, decoloniality focuses on untangling the production of knowledge from a primarily Eurocentric episteme. In other words, decolonization is the process of unlearning the social constructs imposed on us and valuing non-western knowledge and wisdom.

4. Implementation

Having defined the framework that will serve as a support and guide the work we are going to be doing with CYF students, here is how the above will be implemented.

The idea is that this programme functions under the Personal Development umbrella and works in addition to the curriculum and in alignment with CYF ethos and mission.

Programme is divided in four modules following CYF academic year:

  • Fundamentals: 4 weekly sessions

  • Full stack course: 4 weekly sessions

  • Optional: once a month – 4 sessions?

  • Preparing for final presentation: 4 weekly sessions