About ICAN

ICAN’s Founder is performance artist and communications specialist, Dara E. Healy. Our main creative force is Chairperson, Dr. Eintou Pearl Springer and our Treasurer and Business Manager is Hugh Thomas.

ICAN’s vision is ‘Healing through the Arts, Culture and Heritage’. We focus on making a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth, women and communities using Carnival and Performance Arts as our vehicle. We envisage communities that are inspired by the arts to withstand generational challenges, embrace possibilities and achieve their dreams.

ICAN’s mission is ‘The enrichment and transformation of vulnerable communities through the Arts, Culture and Heritage’ of Trinidad & Tobago. Through our social programmes, we use the Creative and Carnival Arts to break the cycles of violence, hyper-sexuality and low self-esteem. We use creative vehicles to confront deep-seated issues and promote healing.

ICAN was established in 2012 and incorporated in 2013. It is the non-profit arm of the Idakeda Group formed in 1998. Idakeda is committed to impacting vulnerable populations through culture, heritage and the arts. We work with communities, organisations and individuals, in T&T, the Caribbean and internationally to fulfil this mission.

ICAN’s interventions

ICAN’s interventions are performance based, rooted in Theatre-in-Education and Arts Therapy approaches. They are targeted to vulnerable youth in areas designated as ‘hot-spot’ communities. We include parents and educators as a means of providing long-term support for the young people, and ensuring the sustainability of the programmes. Additionally, our team of performance artists are amongst the best in the region – experienced, disciplined and knowledgeable in their field.

Our techniques are shown to be effective in addressing behaviour change and right choices. However, effectiveness requires consistency; thus we prefer to work on an on-going basis with the target population. Depending on the needs, budget and other factors, timelines may vary from 3 months to long-term engagement.

The themes we address include:

  • Gender Based Violence/Abuse
  • Sexual responsibility
  • Anger management
  • Mental health challenges
  • Parenting
  • Personal development/Healthy choices

Methodologies include:

  1. Carnival Arts
  2. Movement & Dance
  3. Theatre training
  4. Drawing & Painting
  5. Observation and Feedback
  6. Collaboration with psychologists, psychiatrists and other relevant professionals


Artistic and community-based programmes by ICAN:

UN Spotlight Initiative, 2021-2022

In light of the high incidence of violence against women and girls and family violence in Trinidad and Tobago, United Nations Spotlight Initiative, generously supported by the European Union, is currently being implemented in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago government and civil society.

As part of the UN Spotlight Initiative ICAN was responsible for:

  1. Enhancing the visibility and awareness of the Spotlight Initiative in Trinidad and Tobago
  2. Explaining the background and purpose behind the Spotlight Initiative
  3. Providing details of the work of Implementing Partners and their projects
  4. Updates on major activities/events and
  5. Highlighting achievements and the value of the Initiative to communities


Zanté Carnival Band – 2020

Promote an appreciation for Traditional Carnival Characters and address the social issue of bullying. Sponsorship/donations obtained for vulnerable children from areas such as Laventille, Morvant, Belmont and Barataria

Shades of I-She – 2016 & 2019

Address Gender-based violence, incest and child abuse:

  • Performances, Black Box, Woodbrook 2016
  • Community Outreach in collaboration with Office of the PM, Gender & Child Affairs Division. Communities across Trinidad, Tobago and Women’s Prison July-November 2019


Artist-in-Residence programme

Allow artists and citizens of T&T to develop their skills by learning Haitian Carnival Arts techniques and capacity building for the artists who were part of the exchange. The head of delegation was David Charlier, a Haitian Carnival mas maker, painter and dancer. He wanted to learn our wire bending techniques for some time, and was also seeking an opportunity to share his talents with artists in T&T. The female artist was Mauwissa a fashion designer, specialising in recycled materials and the third artist was Enoch who works with wood and is a set designer.

Storytelling presentation

Dara E. Healy delivered an interactive presentation of an Eintou Springer Carnival story to global stakeholders attending a conference hosted by the International Federation of the Red Cross. Musical accompaniment was provided by Master Drummer Xavier Phillip, musician Kayode Charles and drummer Iremide Charles.

ICAN booth at UWI Volunteer Day – 2018

Directors Dara E. Healy and Hugh Thomas hosted a booth at a Volunteer Day hosted by the University of the West Indies (UWI). The booth which was enhanced with banners, samples of costumes and printed information, attracted numerous students interested in offering their services to ICAN.

Zanté, Carnival & Theatre Arts camp for children – 2017-2019

Impart the knowledge of traditional Carnival skills such as wire-bending, stilt walking and mas-making to a younger generation. Children, 6-12 are also exposed to Theatre and Performance arts and put on a production at the end of camp. Sponsorship/donations are obtained for vulnerable children from areas such as Laventille, Morvant, Belmont and Barataria

Anansi & the Poinsettia Tree – 2016

A fund-raising Christmas production showcasing the play by Eintou Springer. Performers were students of the San Juan South Secondary school, many from vulnerable circumstances.

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