Durham Drama Outreach Zambia is a volunteer project run in conjunction with Experience Durham and Durham Student Theatre at Durham University. It aims to build a bridge between students at Durham University and the children of Zambia through the medium of theatre.
It’s primary aims are to facilitate theatre in the local communities of Zambia, providing children with performance and education opportunities and skills they would not otherwise have, as well giving Durham Students an enhanced University experience.
Last year I was lucky enough to be a team member of the Zambia 2013 project and loved every moment of it. I had the privilege of working with some amazing schools, community centres and orphanages such as Nakanti Community Schools, Maramba Old Peopels Home, Fountain of Hope, Libala Basic School and many more. I also had the enjoyment of working with an amazing NGO called Barefeet on their International Summer Festival, facilitating workshops for children across the 10 provinces in Zambia, directing a local production, and organising a day festival in University of Zambia Grounds. The children involved in these projects seemed to learn a lot about theatre and spoken language, but there was also a great cultural exchange and an exploration of community issues through the medium of theatre which enlightened all involved.
This year I am going back to Zambia with the DDO project as Team Leader, alongside Ellie Gague another Team Leader. Ellie and I have been working hard to secure new placements in Zambia whilst maintaining contact with schools and organisations we have previously worked with. The team will be working with Barefeet once again, as well as many of the other schools and orphanages we worked with last year to build upon the relationships and skills of children to make a longer lasting impact. However, we are also embarking on a new project working with The Book Bus Charity .
The Book Bus has helped over five thousand children improve their reading and writing skills since 2008, and in 2013/14 there is a big focus on getting books, classroom resources, and more book buses distributed throughout Africa. The Book Bus began working in Zambia in 2008 and now has reading schemes in Livingstone, South Luangwa and Meheba UNHCR Refugee Settlement. My team and I will be working with the Book Bus Charity to help teach students about the joys of reading, and borrowing books, and are hoping to dramatize some of the stories to aid in the children’s understanding and learning process. It is a very exciting project.
I would be extremely grateful for any support or donations people could give, every little really does help. DDO is a completely student led project and being in its infancy appreciates all the help that it can get. I have worked my hardest to make sure that this year’s outreach in Zambia will make the best impact it can, and that everyone both Durham Students and the Zambian children we work with get the most out of it. However, the project unfortunately comes with high cost I am expected to raise around £2000 for the project in total, some of this will be towards the cost of transporting me out to Zambia, however, other parts of this cost is to provide the schools, orphanages and organisations with meals for the children, and equipment such as parachutes, reading materials that can help sustain children’s interest in performing arts and reading.