"This is going to work", affirmed one of the teachers in the pilot programme after the concept was introduced to the educators. It was view shared by everyone, but they did not really know what to expect.
In 2009, Steve Williams, Director of the Student Support Services Unit (SSSU) of the Ministry of Education embarked on a pilot programme of storytelling in select primary schools, on a mission of faith and with a vision of transformation.
The objectives of Ai Bonjay were clear – to encourage an interest in reading and improve literacy, deal with lack of self-esteem, the predisposition to violence, and promote positive values, such as respect.
The Idakeda team, lead by its Creative Force and national cultural icon Eintou Pearl Springer, conducted workshops in schools across East Port of Spain. Facilitators included Spoken Word Poet and Actor Muhammad Muwakil, Master Drummer Everald ‘Redman' Watson, dancer and actress Dara Healy and Ajani Healy, Shomari Healy and Kayode Charles of the Chibale Drumming Ensemble.
One year later, the research findings show clear behavioural change amongst students, increased interest in reading, improved discipline and a greater appreciation for the school experience.
We at Idakeda wish to once again publicly thank Mr. Steve Williams for his support of our work in culture and education, and Abby-Gale Richards of the SSSU for her tireless work and dedication to the programme.
Enjoy the latest photos from Ai Bonjay and keep checking the site to find out what's next for this ground-breaking initiative. You can also see updates on what we are doing on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and You Tube and as always –
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