VALEIRAS AndreaGrowing up together: What If Project
by Andrea VALEIRAS for Northern Ireland Foundation
2 November 2011

Today, in the era of mass media we often hear that if you do not appear in television, you don’t exist. But the reality is different — the truth is that if you don’t express yourself, you don’t exist.

This has been demonstrated throughout history, and the forms of self-expression have evolved. We change the sound of timbales with DJs’ mixing desks. The stages of classical Greek and Roman theatre have been moved to the monologues. Walls have been witness to the first artistic expression in the cave paintings and now we can see them full of graffiti.

But the essence remains and the desired result is the same: to communicate.

The International Fund for Ireland, is association with The Playhouse of Derry-Londonderry, organised various activities for young people under the What If Project. Through evolved classical arts (graffiti workshops, school dj, stage monologues, etc.) and other games and sports, the youth of the city can find its space in the community.

Just feeling part of it they can find a way to participate in the world. They can express themselves in different ways, always fun and exciting, and this leads these kids to improving their self-esteem, to understand that they have many ways of expressing their view of life. In addition, these meetings are a small community, so they are living on a small scale to prepare them for this globalised word, where understanding and respect are fundamental to move towards a common, sustainable future.

Both the organisers and participants are very pleased with the results of the project. The kids live out the values they have learned and the skills they have acquired and, above all, treasure the great friends that they have made during the project.

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