Viva a Vida’s 'Healthy Choices' project works to transform the lives of young people and children at risk of drug abuse and violence, empowering them to make healthy choices in their lives. Through educational, artistic, cultural and therapeutic techniques, teenagers learn to make positive decisions, to avoid drug use and gangs, and to become leaders and agents of change in their communities.
Andrea*, who is 17, devised the role she performs in the V2 Theatre Group’s play (in)Dependencies, which promotes reflections and debates about issues relevant to her community. Here she discusses her experience in the theatre group and her character, the ‘good’ daughter in a ‘perfect’ family, in which there is a lot of hidden aggression and unhappiness. Andrea says:
Something gets hold of me in the theatre, I don’t know what it is. I can’t identify it, but even when I’ve said I’m leaving, I find I can’t!
The theatre has influenced my personal life a great deal, including the character I created. Despite everything that happens in her life, she tries to maintain her sanity, she tries to restructure her life, even though her parents are not happy, she tries to live up to the dream that her parents have created for her. Perhaps she thinks that love and affection can exist, but in reality, she doesn’t see it. And this question of appearance is very similar to my family… But even seeing this in my own family I can find strength in her character, she remains stable. I have always been very fragile psychologically and I didn’t believe in myself, but with the theatre, I have overcome my shyness and I discovered that I can do more for myself than simply crying.
Here [in the group] I feel respected, they accept me as I am. Although there are so many people different from me. Many different ways of thinking and acting, different sexualities, but I feel comfortable here. I can be an idiot or I can be intelligent! And with the characters we create I can be several people, when we go out onto the stage, we can be who we want.
I’m still here, because of the strength the group gives me. When I see them, I think I can do that too. What’s the difference, if nobody is better than anybody else?!
This project is helping to transform the lives of many young people like Andrea in Brazil and this work is only possible thanks to our supporters. We look forward to sharing more success stories in the future so make sure you follow out Facebook page for more updates.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the child.
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