“Seenaryo makes you feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… and it’s you!”
Farah started as a participant with Seenaryo in 2015. She was 13 years old, playing the role of a genie in Careful What You Wish For. Over the last five years she has created and performed six shows with us including two Studio productions which toured nationally. In recent years she has also been training as a facilitator with Seenaryo and this year she co-led a Cycle project. Handing over the baton to the communities we work with has been Seenaryo’s ambition since inception, and it’s exciting to see this happen with Farah, who grew up in Shatila refugee camp.
“My leadership skills have been really enhanced by this project. I’ve become more confident, and more focused on what I want to do in life,” says Farah.
Children from vulnerable communities in Lebanon and Jordan suffer from high levels of toxic stress, which ‘disrupts the architecture of the developing brain’ (US National Scientific Council on the Developing Child). 59% of school-aged refugees in Lebanon and nearly a third of all children in Jordan are not in school.
The MENA region has the world’s highest youth unemployment rate; and Lebanon and Jordan face unprecedented brain drain. Youth lack access to quality employment or training opportunities. Many reach adulthood without having the opportunity to develop social and emotional skills and critical thinking, let alone professional capacities.
According to the Gender Gap Index 2020, Lebanon and Jordan are respectively 145th and 138th of 153 countries. The labour force participation rate for women is 26% in Lebanon and only 15% in Jordan. They are also affected by social and political marginalisation and an increase in sexual and gender-based violence.
The Lebanese and Jordanian Ministries of Education find they have an ‘unskilled teaching force’ (Jordan Response Plan), blaming out-dated pedagogy, ‘not as learner-centred as industry standards require, lacking a life-skills base’ (Lebanon Crisis Response Plan).
THEATRE REFLECTS LIFE
The participatory approach to theatre-making that Seenaryo has developed over five years puts participants at the heart of the process, giving them the responsibility and agency to create and write the play that they will perform.
Whether their plays are about real life or volcanoes and dinosaurs, the participants’ own stories are always present. The opportunity to mask their experiences in fairytale and fiction allow participants to express something they otherwise felt unable to express, and confront their feelings safely.
“I’ve learnt to be ambitious for my children, for them to have more than just a traditional education, to do things that will expand their horizons”
MOTHER OF A PARTICIPANT
“I stopped being stuck with my daily chores – cleaning, cooking, looking after the children. The Seenaryo team allowed us to forget our difficulties and have hope that there is a tomorrow.”
SEENARYO STUDIO PARTICIPANT
“It has been a very difficult journey to be honest, but extremely rewarding. I realised that I am capable of looking after my children and providing them with the best education they need.”
I LEARN FROM HOME PARENT