Building Bridges Statement

The Toolkit was designed to collect and share the know-how on voluntary projects involving people seeking or who have recently found refuge, as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. The collection of guidelines, methods and case studies is non-exhaustive and should simply foster your own inspiration and support you in implementing projects on the topic. The creation of the Toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects in the field. It was coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Útilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of the Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.

PREPARING A THEATRE WORKCAMP

To organise a theatre workcamp in your country, there are some main questions to be considered before taking the decision.

1. Budget and Funding

How should the budget be planned ? What are the main budget categories to take into consideration?

  • Salaries for the theater/dance pedagogues
  • Accommodation and food for the volunteers
  • Food for the children, ev. transport costs for the children

Tips for finding funding – presenting the project or ideas for specific funds

  • Public hand
  • Private donors
  • Theatre pedagogues who are willing to volunteer 
  • Food and location donors

2. Project coordination and important roles

How many people and which roles do you need in order to coordinate such a workcamp successfully?

Differentiation between volunteers and paid staff

  • 1 reliable local coordinator that can fully commit who gets a remuneration
  • 1 person willing to do the fundraising in cooperation with the local coordinator (ideally staff in SCI)
  • 2 theatre pedagogues paid or if possible even as volunteers
  • 1/-2 camp coordinators as volunteers
  • 8-14 SCI volunteers incl. international volunteers
  • 2 or 4 additional local volunteers for the 2nd week to cook and support the lunch break

3. Project plan and phases

What are the usual phases a theatre workcamp goes through – steps important to plan for a successful project?

  • 12 months before: Project plan and  budget
  • Pre-Research about the places where kids are in the asylum centres and about the access to the children from the asylum centres
  • 12 – 6 months before: Fundraising
  • until 6 months  before: Build project team (define first the local coordinator and then the theatre pedagogues
  • until 3 months before: Recruitment of camp coordinator 
  • 6 months until some weeks before: Recruitment of local children
    Few months until some weeks before: Recruitment of children from the asylum centre
  • 1st week workcamp – preparing the volunteers
  • 2nd week workcamp –  play theatre with the children
  • Workcamp – Theater/dance performance
  • +/- 2 months after: Evaluation and reporting to donors  (set deadline for the local coordinator according to their standards)

General tips:

  • theater, dance, music

Advice from theater pedagogues with experience in the project, which theater/dance/music approaches and methods work best for that context

  • Rely more on improvisation from the children and volunteers rather than get them to act out a fixed play
  • A simple children book can help as story line to get the children into the mood of experimenting around
  • Get involved with music suggestions from the children themselves

  • country and cultural specifics

It may be good to have in mind that when replicating a project that worked in one country, in another country there may be some differences that need to be considered

  • The implemented workcamps usually recruited international volunteers speaking the local language. This may not be possible in some countries (e.g. Bulgaria). 

Recruit at least 2-3 local volunteers, in order to help with translation.
Advertise the camp among locals as a chance to practice English.

  • Especially in the current situation, in some countries there may be strong prejudices against asylum seekers and refugees, which can affect negatively the recruitment of local children. 

→ Go through the address lists of local theatre groups, churches, youth centres etc. that work with children anyway and have some trust among the parents

  • In terms of recruitment – the one-week entertainment offers for kids during school holidays can be typical in one country, but untypical in another one. 

→ In order to recruit children, you’ll need to think of several channels.

CONTRIBUTE!

You can share your experience, observations, tips and tricks, pictures etc. by uploading for instance a method or a case study to the Building Bridges Toolkit. As this Toolkit is a work in progress to which all involved parties are invited to contribute, we would also be very grateful for your support and contribution in order to inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.