In Myanmar the British Embassy invited Pan to train local NGO workers to deal with the huge psycho-social problems which followed the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, when 130,000 died in one night. This spread the work into many local organisations and was noted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who invited us back for two subsequent visits to train 50 villagers from the affected Delta area to become travelling theatre companies to address the symptoms of a breakdown of social infrastructure.
After eight months of work in 290 villages they reported astonishing results, ranging from the reintroduction of children into schools, through self-organising groups to rebuild roads and bridges, to reductions in alcoholism and domestic abuse. Perhaps most impressive to us was the personal growth in those we trained. From traumatised and retiring individuals they have become impressive new leaders in communities and agents for change.
This initial work was followed by an invitation from the British Council to work with a group of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Yangon (Rangoon) to form a Theatre for Development company (Human Drama) to tackle burning social issues. This started with the creation of Forum Theatre plays on themes of Sexual and Reproductive Health but soon included the allied themes of alcoholism, drug taking and trafficking. The fledgling group gained huge experience in the field and developed a professionalism of their own to suit local Myanmar culture and conditions.
Have a look at their work by clicking on this link
In 2015 Human Drama received a major grant to work on issues of access to Justice and has commenced a ground-breaking project using film and live theatre to trigger debate and raise awareness of paths to Justice.