The theater "Role Of Youngsters In Community" presented scenes from around colleges and universities picturing how a student in youth can sometimes be blinded by what they see in other students as perfect, and want to become exactly like them, but losing their uniqueness. As a result, they end up constantly comparing, adapting wrong habits, and taking extreme routes that even leads to suicide.
These issues are quite prevalent both rural and urban cultures of Sindh. And as the independence day was a very major event for all Pakistani youth who were seen celebrating hugely, PEP thought it would be great to use this event to reach out to as many people, and especially the future of our country that is the youth.
The children's theater was prepared by Sir Munawar John who is leading the PEP CAP group. The children in this theater group are from the areas Mirpurkhas, Khowaja Goth, and Tando Ghullam Ali where PEP has its schools.
This theater was to help youth understand their purpose and responsibility as a Pakistani. The children performed theater throughout August, and later the children also did a theater on Early Marriage that was performed on independence day programme in Churches, Hyderabad Diocesan Office, Diocesan Institutions, and the Diocesan Hostels.
The churches supported the PEP theater project through donations and so can you!
When I was first told that I had to do a theater presentation on early marriage, I felt a need that this was important for me to do. I am 18 years old and I will be getting married soon. In my culture early marriage is the norm. And following this specific norm means doing the best thing for family.
But is it the really best thing for me?
What will happen if I get married at 18, and without knowing who my husband is?
I don't have any guarantee of how I might be treated. My in laws might ask me to leave my job, my studies. I might never see the result of the hard work we did for the women through Female Adult Literacy (FAL) education. I will have to adjust myself according to the ways of my husband, and in laws. This will take me further away from who I really am, and my identity. Therefore, I will lose a lot.
This is the story of many girls in rural and urban culture as well as around the world, who don't have a choice, and are sold through marriage, when they could be playing, reading, dancing, and teaching.
So, on my part, what is the best that I can do?
If through the women's theater, I can raise awareness about the consequences of early marriage, the next generation of girls will know. Girls like me who can't stand up to the norms of culture in this age can in future take stand for their daughters.
And the women in Women's Empowerment Programme have gathered together from all areas, of all ages, uniting together in one song, "Marriage is not for girls, let them shine."
The Women's Empowerment Groups are on the front lines to open the eyes of the community to the fate of early marriage. Through their theater they have projected that page of a girl's life, who after marriage loses her rightful freedom, and most of all, her childhood.
Early marriage can cost a girl her whole life.
Disability A Taboo in Rural Sindh:
One of the most common taboos after Early Marriage and AIDS that is so prevalent in our society is "Disability". It is treated as a stigma, and there is no approval in society for those people who are suffering from this imputation.
A village in Khowaja Goth, Rural Sindh, chants the same story of the scars that disable people, and especially children, have been bearing since birth. The lame or mentally retarded children have one and only possible way to survive, and that is to be shut out completely from society. The families of the disable feel an inner shame and imagine this albatross to never end.
But, just as on one axis the taboo of Disability rises, on the other side of the axis, the anticipation of acceptance for disable people is also rising.
Young Graduates Fight Against Disability Issue:
A young group of stirring graduates from the PEP schools of Khowaja Goth are determined to inspire communities to stop treating disability as a taboo, because they believe that people with disabilities are just as important as the other members of the society.
These graduates have joined together from the 12 PEP schools of Khowaja Goth and formed a Theater group that serves to raise awareness on different social issues in rural Sindh. Their recent theater on disability had left the audience in complete awe.
The objectives of the Theater group were to raise awareness about why and how people become disable, causes, and what should be the behavior towards the disable children and people.
Response Of The Khowaja Goth Communities:
A total of 1066 students were present from the 12 schools of Khowaja Goth along with the community members. The theater event became a great attraction for all those who were present in Khowaja Goth communities.
The communities where the theater was performed were asked to do a self assessment of how they perceive as well as treat disable people, and sadly many of the people accepted their participation in making disability a taboo.
The communities very much appreciated the graduates who participated in the theater and all belonged to their own communities. They made a promise with the Theater group that they would work on their behavior towards handicapped people and encourage any handicapped students to join PEP school.
We all understand that Child Abuse is an issue all around the world, and Pakistan is one of those countries where Child Abuse has taken it's rise in recent years. More than 70,000 cases on Child Abuse in Pakistan were only reported in 2015, and many more cases are still being reported today. With such an existent issue, it becomes more than important to address the urgency of it.
And this is just what the PEP Theater Group has presented in thier first ever play. ThePEP theater on Child Abuse addresses the most common yet threatening issue that has taken place several times in the past, and rarely has ever been reported due to shame and fear of disgrace.
In the marginalized communites of rural Sindh, people more than often face challenges that take away not only their freedom, but chains them to oppression by the Landlords and strict taboo traditions. These challenges come in face of early marriage, bonded labor, depriviation of education and child rights, especially for girls, and poverty.
The PEP Theater Group has given it's best to show how children in rural Sindh respond to child abuse and the results of that response. Further the Theater Group has brilliantly posed a question as to what should be the solution when one is faced with such a plight.
Watch for yourself and Join us in this ever engaging campaign to promote Child Protection in rural Sindh Pakistan, and all around the world.