Beyond prison walls…
Walls are not a barrier to inclusion !
Written by Natou, head of project ‘Au delà de la prison’ Arène Théâtre, Empowerment grantee in Niger. By means of multidisciplinary theater, this project works with women and underage girls jailed in Kollo, Say and Niamey detention centers for women and minors in order to help them overcome their difficulties and change their behaviours for a better social inclusion inside and / or outside of prison walls. The launch of the project, scheduled for February 2020, was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arena Théâtre is a strong lady with some experience.
She is marginalized by society because she always talks about culture, self-development, talent and psychological well-being for a well-balanced, free and inclusive community. Faithful to her tradition, she always gives a helping hand to the most vulnerable people. As we often say: generosity is never useless! And everything comes at the right time to those who can wait!
Arène Théâtre has been patient.
Then one day, this woman with inexhaustible potential, had a beautiful encounter. Voice reached out to her! They become partners. Without further ado, voices were raised!
- Woman: Please, think about us too. Everyone goes by without even looking at us! Some people even say that we’re only good to be thrown in the trash can!
- Another woman: I just want to get rid of that name … Could you please help me?
- A young girl: if I manage, with my undoubted courage, to hold your hand, could you support me to make the leap towards inclusion?
Arène Théâtre then turns around to look at her friend Voice, who holds her hand as a yes. And without hesitation, Arène Théâtre holds the hands of the women and girls in detention in Kollo, Niamey and Say.
Since then, Arène Théâtre does nothing for the imprisoned women and girls without consulting them!
They are so happy that they celebrated this friendship on June 22, 2020 in front of women and men of culture, justice, in front of friends and for the whole world.
They celebrated, danced, sang, laughed and made their guests laugh.
They are so happy that they started to take turns confiding about their activities using batik, dress-making, cosmetics and theater, activities set up for their expression and improvement of their self-confidence.
They are so happy that they were able to project themselves into a brighter future, where they realized that the path fraught with pitfalls, which led them there, must be banished from the map of their lives and that all the learning provided to them should be sustained.
The video below is a quick summary of the launch event.
Translated from French