When Chimwemwe Chithyoka heard that Students with Dreams was looking for projects all about creative freedom of expression, she knew she had the perfect idea for a project. She would work with secondary school students, introducing them to different kinds of art that they could use to address a social issue that is important to them.
“We used art to address social and cultural issues that young people face in the communities, such as early pregnancy, drug and substance abuse, gender-based violence, and abortion,” Chimwemwe said. “During our early interventions, the students learnt about different social issues in their community. From this they came up with ways to address the issues, and later came up with arts.”
Chimwemwe was impressed by all the art the student came up with. They dreamed up everything from songs to dramas to drawings to poetry, which they all had a chance to showcase to their fellow students.
It was through the success of this project that Chimwemwe grew as a leader, and gained practical skills.
“For me, the working on a project is more than just the work in the field. It’s budgeting, partnership, and writing proposal applications,” she said.
One of the things Chimwemwe and her team really struggled with was setting SMART goals; that is goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Not knowing about this made it difficult to set objectives and come up with a monitoring and evaluation plan at the beginning.
However, the training sessions from the ArtGlo staff and the Mentors showed her a way through.
“The programme equipped me with the skills to conduct any kind of project; I know how to budget, how to do monitoring and evaluation. My college courses didn’t cover any of the topics, but I can do them because of Students with Dreams,” she said.
She also appreciated the that the trainings not only gave her the tools to use the arts, but also did so in a creative and fun way.
“Students with Dreams is a great platform to open people’s minds and learn about the root causes of poor learning standards.”