Grassroots Theatre Company was established in 1990, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. IPAT supported its work between 1999 and 2013, by providing food grants that kept the company well fed and looked after. As a result, Grassroots was able to concentrate on its work with confidence, hope and focus.
An interview with Grassroots Theatre Company
“As an independent organisation and a theatre for development catalyst, we work with the most marginalised people of our society, both in Zimbabwe and the UK. Our work in Zimbabwe has been very difficult because of the political and economic collapse, culminating into one of the weakest social cohesion hard hit by HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. With inflation now well beyond 2.5 million percent, it makes life very hard and the support we received from IPAT went a long way in sustaining artists and the work that we do.
One of our major programs has been the Sanganisai Children’s Festival in Masvingo villages, South East of Zimbabwe. It aimed to address child-based issues, particularly many children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS amongst other diseases by providing a platform where their voices can be heard. The program enabled the adults of the villages to work with the children and listen to their needs through song, poetry, dance and storytelling. In 2007, Sanganisai Children’s Festival brought 3000 people together through workshops and performances. Poverty is our worst enemy and children are usually the most vulnerable and on the receiving end of it all. Sanganisai aimed to bring communities together, promote sharing and building common values to ensure a healthier society.
Over the past years, Grassroots has engaged different communities across Zimbabwe articulating pertinent issues such as gender and development, domestic violence, environment, health and safety, child rights in addition to the HIV/AIDS that we continue to do.
Our international tour of the UK enables us to mobilise resources to sustain our work in Zimbabwe given the dwindling NGO and donor support. Most development organisations have scaled down their operations while others have completely stopped their work. Grassroots has not been spared by this negative wave of oppression and destruction. This scenario shows why the support that we had from IPAT was critical and kept us on the move.
“We are grateful to IPAT’s trustees and supporters.”
More information can be found on the group’s website.