“You did not help me to plant the rice; you did not help me to pick the rice; you did not help me to cook the rice, so I’m going to eat alone.”

Gift’s Story

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Gift participated in our workshops in 2008 and 2010. The participating Zanzibari teachers stated that they “had never before heard her speak.” On day three of the first workshop, she wrote a story and asked to perform the female lead.

The blazing sun illuminated a scene about a young wife planting, picking and cooking rice for her husband. She asked her husband for help repeatedly, but each time he replied that he was too tired to help. When the wife’s work was done, her husband asked, “My wife, is the rice ready?”

All eyes turned to Gift as her face lit up. Her voice rang out loud and powerful, and her finger pointed defiantly at the boy playing her husband.

“You did not help me to plant the rice; you did not help me to pick the rice; you did not help me to cook the rice, so I’m going to eat alone. But you are still my husband.”

The students and teachers in the audience leapt to their feet and cheered. A student who previously appeared to her teachers as shy and quiet had radiated confidence. Her voice had been heard.

After graduating from school, Gift was offered a job as a concierge at the prestigious Zanzibar hotel Emerson and Green. The hotel only hires staff with impeccable English and this type of job is not often offered to women. In her spare time, Gift writes plays and her dream is to one day be a professional actress.

 Zara’s Story

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On the first day of a GET  workshop in 2011, we witnessed a young girl being rebuked in the yard by other students. Later when she joined our workshop and spoke to us, she stumbled over her words in Swahili and English, and other students laughed at her. Even the Zanzibari teachers seemed to treat this particular girl more severely than the other students.

As we worked with her during the program however, she began to speak more clearly and seemed to burst out of herself as she played the role of a girl trapped in an unwanted arranged marriage. We learned that she herself was to be in an unwanted, arranged marriage.

In the final performance of the play for families and friends, she slowly walked down the aisle, tears streaming down her face.  She let out a heart-rending sob like a clap of thunder and collapsed into her “mother’s” arms pleading with her to free her from this terrible obligation. A hush fell over the audience, and then they burst into applause.

This young girl simply glowed. Many who witnessed this performance expressed how that moment still echoed in their memories long after.

When we saw this young woman the following year she was surrounded by the friends she had met in the workshop. She was brimming with confidence, spoke clearly and bubbled with excitement. She was transformed.

Rosilin’s Story

Roselin was a student in a GET workshop conducted in partnership with the ParikrmaHumanity Foundation in India. Her mother worked in the kitchen at the school and her father sold flowers from a cart on the street. At 13 years old, she has already decided that she wants to be a doctor. “I want to take care of children like me,” she says. “Children that don’t get to go to the doctor and make sure they are healthy.” Her ambition shines behind her dark eyes.

She was inspired to tell a story that brought to light a rarely explored prejudice. She wrote a story about a young girl’s encounter with a transgendered person (eunuch) on the street. The eunuch begged her for money. Upset to be seen with such a person she abused him with her words. The very next day the same eunuch chased off a gang of boys trying to attack her while she was on her way home. Left not knowing what to make of this second encounter, the girl struggles with the stereotypes surrounding this victimized group of people.

Ramadan’s Story

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 Ramadan participated in our workshops in 2008. He now teaches at Kiembe Samaki Secondary School and worked with GET in the summer of 2012 to facilitate the workshops and support the students.

He is well‐spoken and talks passionately about the value of the drama‐in‐education strategies that GET introduced him to during the workshops.

“I shared in your culture and you shared in mine. I also learned from my fellow students. We shared ideas. If we work together we can achieve more. I became confident. I felt like a leader. I hope through theatre we can express our culture and the problems we face in our country. Now that I am graduated, when I meet my classmates, when we meet together, this is a memory in our hearts.”

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