In 2011, several Zimbabwean schools reached out to us, asking us to help create a project focussing on the empowerment and selfesteem of girls. We decided to develop a 4day project, which we named ‘dancing with the Zimbabwean Stars’. We divided the project into 3 workshops:
1. Dance as a way of expressing and coping with emotions;
2. Theater to stimulate self expression and creative thinking;
3. Selfknowledge to focus on personal qualities, talents and working together.
We went to two different schools: Durlstone Primary School and St. Cyprian’s Primary School. We started the project days by helping the students learn to read, followed by our 3 workshops. On the last day we organised a big performance for parents, teachers and other students where all the participants received a specially made ‘Zimbabwean star’ tshirt.
Overall, we learned a lot this first year by trial and error and we were pleased to see the enthusiasm of the teachers and students. Although this project was initially intended for girls only, when we arrived at the first school, it did not seem right to exclude the boys from this project. The teachers and students were all very interested in the project and we figured that all these qualities were highly important for boys as well.
Language turned out to be a big barrier, since the students hardly spoke any English and a lot of the teachers did not speak English either. Also, because of the translated interaction from teacher to student, it was a bit hard for us to actually stimulate the students to think for themselves.