One of the Drama, Diversity and Development’s second round advocacy projects is ‘Our Culture .. Our Identity’ project implemented by the National Centre for Culture and Arts in Jordan. The project worked towards protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of war-torn Syria amongst Syrian youth and children. Throughout the project, NCCA organized different activities that aimed at raising awareness of the importance of maintaining the cultural heritage of Syrian refugees in Jordan, promoting a better understanding of cultural identity, advocating for Syrian refugees cultural rights and involving them in cultural activities to further achieve this goal. One of the main activities included producing a play with the title of “A Journey of Jasmines” allowing young Syrian generations to share their cultural identity and promote their creative and intellectual ideas. Farah Shamma, NCCA’s Projects and Fundraising Manager, spoke to the Drama, Diversity and Development project in a recent interview about his experiences working with the project and the ‘A Journey of Jasmines’ ’ performance.
What does the project symbolize to you?
The project symbolizes a crucial step towards acknowledging the importance of one’s cultural identity and raising awareness about it amongst refugees; especially youth, influential individuals, decision makers and the general public through the media.
Do you have a favorite part of the project? If yes, which one and why?
The part that I enjoyed the most in the project was the sessions in which we got to interact with the audience and hear their thoughts and suggestions. Our actors got to better understand the situation of the refugees through talking to them and hearing their answers about various issues concerning their cultural identity.
What was the main goal that your project aimed to achieve?
The main goal was to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of war-torn Syria amongst children and adolescents by raising awareness of the importance of maintaining the cultural heritage of Syrian refugees in Jordan, promoting a better understanding of cultural identity and involving them in drama activities to boost their self-confidence and self-esteem.
What were the reactions of your audience/ target group?
The reactions of the audience were positive and emotional. The highly engaged audience constantly reacted to the events of the play showing emotional gestures with older ladies shedding tears of sadness remembering their country. The rest of the audience participated actively with the facilitator remembering Syria and the different aspects of its culture, and suggesting methods of preserving them. The younger audience was also showing a high level of attention to the play and participated in the games the facilitator conducted at each session, which included acting and dancing. The implementation of the interactive theater methodology resulted in providing our audience with the needed space to take part in addressing their issues and concerns while instilling confidence in their ability to speak out and create social change.
Looking back after having reached the final stage of your project, what were the difficulties you encountered in the process?
The main difficulty was the ability to approach decision makers and influencers in order to have them partake in the project. The implications of losing cultural identity – especially amongst young generation – is not given the focus and importance that is needed.
To learn more about DDD’s advocacy projects