Project Title: Women and Girls Speak Out for Justice
Location: Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Malaysia
Project Summary: Bond Street Theatre (BST) has obtained worldwide recognition for their work in areas of conflict and poverty, with a focus on women, children, and youth, and those who immediately influence their lives. BST’s programs aim to educate and empower individuals to advocate on their own behalf, and spark community dialogue in service of social advancement and tolerance. To reach their key demographic, they work directly with local artists, arts organizations, community organizations and other aid groups, so that their messaging on human rights, peacebuilding, inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance is informed by local input and/or created directly by participants themselves.
Following a successful Featured Grant in August 2014, this Sustained Grant project will give women and girls in crisis areas the tools and training to speak out for equal rights through theatre, leadership and advocacy training, and informational performances in their communities. BST will conduct programming in Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Malaysia over each of the three project years, working with existing local partners that serve women and girls and other marginalized groups. In each location, conflict, displacement, and refugee/host tensions are significant sources of strain, with these issues inordinately affecting women, children, and youth. The goal is to introduce BST’s creative arts model to new groups and new audiences to educate, empower, and heal, and to bolster the ability of long-time partner organizations and their constituents to carry out social justice work in their communities.
Impact: This project will have a direct impact on 60-150 women, and will indirectly impact 6,000 members of the community.
Why we love this project: Bond Street Theatre has a proven track record of successes while operating in areas where human rights messaging, tolerance, and conflict resolution are critically needed on a local level, and where grassroots programs are often overlooked in favor of top-down aid. Working at the community level, BST serves as a connector between groups, using theatre to encourage cooperation, improve understanding between ethnicities, cultures, and genders, and boost the presence of marginalized groups in community processes.
Sustainable Development Goals:
2014 Featured Grant Info
Project Title: Creative Arts Prison Program
Location: Herat, Afghanistan
Grant Amount: $41,125
Grantee Website: www.bondst.org
Areas of Impact: Education, Gender Equality, Leadership
Mission of Bond Street Theatre : Featured (2014), Sustained (2019-2021)
Bond Street Theatre’s mission is to promote peace and mutual understanding through the arts by initiating theatre projects for education, healing and empowerment in conflict zones and critical areas worldwide, and through teacher training, program for women and youth, and creative collaboration with local artists.
Dining for Women will help support Bond Street Theatre’s CAPP program that introduces effective theater-based programming into the rehabilitative process for incarcerated women in the Afghan justice system to encourage self-expression, build self-esteem, promote healing and provide life skills to ease reentry into society.
Women are often arrested and prosecuted for violating social, behavioral, and religious norms, such as fleeing forced or abusive marriages or being a victim of rape. The children of the incarcerated women stay with them in the prison. Program objectives include:
• Train Bond Street Theatre’s Arts Partners, Simorgh Theatre of Herat, an all-female theatre group, in theater-based practices that aid prison and post-incarceration populations.
• Improve the life skills of incarcerated women and girls by presenting a structured program that improves their communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, and build their motivation and self-esteem to ease their reentry into society.
• Provide creative and healing activities for incarcerated women to enjoy with their children.
• Train trainers within the prison environment in these techniques to ensure an ongoing and adaptable program.
DFW’s grant will pay for salaries/wages, travel for US artists, equipment, workshop materials and supplies, contractual fees and other direct costs. Our grant will directly affect 505 incarcerated women and their children.
Why We Love This Project
Bond Street Theatre’s award-winning method is unique in that it utilizes targeted programming based on the needs of the group. The population served and their experiences are unique and foreign to the general American public. There is great potential for educating our members on this population, the challenges they face, and the creative arts rehabilitative method.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The program video has been removed at Bond Street Theatre's request to protect the identities of incarcerated women.