Lake of Stars is the premier festival in Malawi, and the organisers always find a way to give back to the community that hosts the festival. The day before the festival kicked off, a thousand young people gathered to take part in the Day of Ideas. We joined the activities of the day, bringing our signature creative approached to engage the youths on issues of nutrition, women’s leadership, and entrepreneurship.
The Make Art / Stop AIDS Squad performed an interactive play about nutrition. The drama told the story of a secondary school student who faces peer pressure to eat unhealthy food and ultimately becomes sick. The students eagerly joined the interactive section, coming up with ways the characters could resolve the situation.
The Squad also hosted a workshop for a group of students to come up with their own creative pieces about nutrition. The students jumped right into it, talking about some of the barriers young people in their communities face to good nutrition and getting together in small groups to devise a wide array of performance pieces using drama, music, and poetry. It was so incredible to see how supportive everyone was as the groups shared their work with each other.
Students with Dreams adapted the “Dream Machine,” which has proved popular with tertiary students, to host two creative ideas generation sessions: one on women in leadership and the other on entrepreneurship. The sessions used creative techniques, such as image theatre, to identify and explore the issues. By the end of the session, the young people were bursting with their own creative solutions.
Students with Dreams alum, Tawonga Msowoya, was invited to MC a panel discussion about women in leadership, which featuring young Malawian leaders and special guest Ben Macpherson, the Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development in the Scottish Parliament.
Overall, we were really impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement of the young people in our arts activities, and all the creative ideas they came up with!