Idakedas two decades of HIVAIDS outreach

Idakedas Creative Force Eintou Pearl Springer has been involved in the use of Culture to provide HIVAIDS awareness from as early as 1989

Idakeda's Creative Force Eintou Pearl Springer, has been involved in the use of Culture to provide HIV/AIDS awareness from as early as 1989.

As part of the National Aids Programme, she was instrumental in initiating and executing a special Popular Theatre workshop for young people, many from ‘At Risk' backgrounds. After the training the young people and Ms. Springer went into youth camps, schools and communities through Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean, impacting the lives of young people, improving their attitudes towards HIV/AIDS and generally guiding them towards positive lifestyle choices.

In 1990, also under the National Aids Programme, Ms. Springer produced and directed a forum at the CARICOM Heads of Government conference for regional youth to come together and present their concerns about HIV/AIDS and other critical social issues to the Heads. Eintou also worked with young Rappers, helping them to hone their skills to give positive messages to their peers.

Our work in this area evolved to the very successful play by Eintou ‘Shades of I-She'. The play, targeted to women in difficult circumstances, deals with specific issues of safe sexual practices and relationships. ‘Shades' was taken to numerous communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean and special interventions were held with school children, teachers and Guidance Counsellors. The exposure to the powerful poetry contained in the play, raised a number of social and family based concerns as well as proposals to arrive at solutions.

At this point, Dara Healy joined forces with Eintou on stage as a performer and coordinator of the outreach efforts of the organisation. ‘Shades' was performed in Trinidad, Tobago and throughout the Caribbean with the support of UNESCO, the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the diplomatic corps. The play also received critical acclaim in New York, Ohio and New Orleans.

Idakeda continues to deepen its outreach work towards young people and other groups who may be ‘At Risk' through its culturally based interventions. Further, with the data consistently showing young people being at risk, we continue to emphasise HIV/AIDS, right choices and safe sexual practices. Our technique involves use of Carnival Characters, Folklore and Storytelling.

In 2004, we started interventions with young people in schools throughout Tobago and Trinidad with the play ‘Baby Doll Meets Midnight Robber' under the ‘Peace Promotion Programme' of the Ministry of Education. The plot centres on the Baby Doll Carnival character, a young woman constantly in search of the father of her child.

Idakeda Director, Attillah Springer brought her skills as a journalist and writer to the team, working both as a facilitator and coordinator. By the time Idakeda's involvement with this Ministry programme ceased in 2008, we had successfully conducted workshops with hundreds of students across Trinidad and Tobago.

In addition to the young ‘At Risk' populations, we used this play as the basis of our work with teachers, parents and Guidance Counsellors within the school system.

Eintou's next play ‘Madame Lorraine and Fancy Sailor' is directed mainly at adults. It provides a glimpse into the home of Baby Doll and draws attention to the social ills of incest and parental neglect. The play also addresses the disconnect between parents and children which creates problems for communication and problem solving. Through the play, we encourage parents to change their approach to parenting and provide teachers with an opportunity

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Our work within the sector extends to the Corporate Community. Here, we demonstrate to organisations the impact of culture on behavioural transformation and the possibilities for this type of alternative approach to reach their specific target audiences in the context of sharing their specific company message.

Our work in this area is part of Idakeda's enduring commitment to transforming our society through the important sectors of culture, arts and the arts.

Click here for a list of Idakeda's corporate and other HIV/AIDS outreach activities.

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