Today’s world is becoming increasingly business-oriented. Not enough time, money, or appreciation is dedicated to the importance of the arts, and I think this is a huge disservice to humanity. As I’m approaching graduation and I’m faced with the reality of the need to choose a career path, I find myself conflicted in the debate about aid and charity. Is it good? If yes, how much is good? If no, then what are the other alternatives for improving the needs of this world?
I like the work of many international organizations working to improve the lives of people across the world, and I’m particularly interested in the works of micro-finance institutions who seek to provide others with the necessary capital and skills to forever change their lives. But I’ve come to realize the in order to change the world, the emphasis doesn’t always need to be on business. I’ve come to understand in my research and experiences that there is no one road to ‘development’ – both personal and international – but rather several approaches.
My Zambian sister Mazuba Kapambwe informed me of an excellent project in Zambia that realizes the transformative power in the arts – Barefeet Theater. Barefeet Theater is comprised of young adults who were or currently are on the streets of Zambia and uses theater, art, dance, music, and creative writing to engage these children and young adults with their community. Furthermore, it offers them a creative means through which to express themselves.
Barefeet Theater puts on a series of performances in Zambia as well as internationally, all of which lead up to their large Barefeet Festival which is held every August.
The members of Barefeet and their mission is truly inspirational. If you are currently in Zimbabwe or Zambia or you are headed there sometime soon, try to check them out Harare International Festival of Arts Wednesday May 1st and Saturday May 4th where they will be performing their award winning play Tujuka Must Die or in Lusaka, Zambia at the Lusaka Motor Club on April 24th and 25th. If you miss these events, never fear, their Barefeet Festival will be held again next August!