After a week of inter-cultural exchanges and learning the applications of ‘forum theatre’, young volunteers of “Health on Stage” are now ready to perform. “Forum Theatre has been used mainly for protest art in India until now,” according to Jaya Iyer, Indian forum theatre trainer. “Health on Stage volunteers will now focus on public health, with all its social and cultural dimensions in the specific locations. The performances are unique, courageous, and, like all creative acts, offer the potential of real change.” Jaya is training the volunteers for the “Health on Stage” initiative.
“Health on Stage” is the 10th edition of the Asia-Europe Young Volunteers Exchange (AEYVE) programme. These volunteers have been trained since 20th August. They will now use the applications and methodologies of forum theatre along with creative team-building exercises which they have learnt and get an in-depth understanding of the issue of water-related diseases. This is one of the most pressing public health issues of the local communities where the participants will organise forum theatre performances.
Working in three groups, the 21 volunteers will visit the slum-dwellers in Bangalore, workers in an industrial belt in Chennai and villagers in Mysore. They will explore hygiene and sanitation-related concerns in these locations. By closely interacting with the local communities, the volunteers will raise awareness of the main public health issues. Who knows? Perhaps by the end of their performances, the local communities may arrive at their own solutions for mitigating their problems.
The three groups of volunteers will converge in Bangalore on 26th September to review their experience in the field. They will make recommendations on how to make the best use of forum theatre to promote dialogue within local communities on water-related diseases for improving their living conditions.