Drama in Nepal
Drama in the Street - Awareness in the Community

Children from the Nava Prativa Children's Club perform a street drama to raise awareness of gender issues in the community.
In 1997, Plan Nepal facilitated a children's convention to raise awareness about child rights, give children an opportunity to speak out and offer children and PLAN staff a forum for mutual learning. Since the convention, children in Nepal have organized themselves into Children's Clubs and Forums. These Children's Club's are taking the lead in organizing activities for Child Rights and Community Awareness.
Nava Prativa Child Club has 25 active and 20 general members aged 6 to 14 years studying in grades 2-5.The club has meetings every week, and each member donates 5 Rupees a month for club and program maintenance. They have their own office, library and sports equipment. They plan, design and implement their own programs, themselves.
Recently, members of the club called a meeting to discuss the "Need for Community Awareness." The children showed serious concern regarding traditional and conservative norms, values, culture and religion. They feel some of these perpetuate and enhance barriers preventing children from realizing their full potential. The children themselves decided that Dowry, Purdah, fewer educational opportunities for girls, lack of aware-ness in the family on birth spacing and over-all gender disparity keep their community in a straight jacket of poverty and ignorance. This way the children, both girls and boys, analyzed the situation in their community and tried to extract the root causes behind these issues. They decided to fight it out! They decided to go amongst the community people to raise awareness through Street Drama - the most effective mass communication method within the community.
They prepared a script for the drama and rehearsed for 10-12 days until they had perfected their assigned roles. It was time to stage the drama. They chose a central site, with open space where most of the community people could see and listen to the dialogue with ease. Around 300-500 people gathered in each show.
Nava Prativa Child Club has just completed the street drama in 19 among 24 PLAN working VDCs (like counties) in Rautahat/Bara. All the people, who came to see the drama, realized the truth of the issues presented in the drama and praised the children for such a wonderful effort. Dialogues, songs, scenes, and jokes created by the children were very interesting and entertaining but still coated with an awareness-raising message. The people watched to end of the children's street drama without flickering their eyes!
Community members and village chairpersons who had been in the audience sent appreciation letters to the children's clubs for their fine and informative performance in the street dramas. PLAN Rautahat/Bara has been facilitating these children's clubs throughout these positive developments, and will scale up these activities throughout the program area by strengthening these clubs and forums.
This article was written by Narayan Gyawali, Rita Aggrawal and Rishi Adhikari. For more information, email Rashi Adhikari at adhikarr@plan.geis.com
Children's Rights Links:

Children's House - An Interactive Resource Center for the Exchange of Information on the well being of Children and Inputs to Policy
Child Workers in Asia