Partner Perspectives: Barefeet Theatre

Our partners are organisations with stories of courage, dedication and innovation. They are a focal part of our immersive experiences. The work they do inspires the participants in our programs in life-defining ways and challenges them to think differently about things that deeply affect people to truly drive change. Our work also supports our partners to shift the way they work to have a greater impact.

The Partner Perspectives blog provides a place for our partners to share their stories, talk about the work that they do and the impact this is having in their communities and the world beyond.

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About Barefeet

Barefeet Theatre - perfroming in Zambia

My name is Grace Banda. I am the Executive Director for Barefeet Theatre located in Lusaka, Zambia.

Barefeet Theatre is a dynamic, creative, youthful organisation that seeks to harness the transformative power of the arts to provide the best possible future for thousands of Zambian children. Without this support, these children will be left exposed to a variety of risks that could impede their opportunities and stifle their holistic development and ability to realise their full potential.

Our Vision: A world in which all children and young people are empowered to exercise their rights, have their voices heard, achieve their full potential, and are able to explore and develop their creativity.

The Mission: Barefeet must work to enhance the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Zambia, by providing creative opportunities to learn, express themselves and achieve their full potential.

Our Inspiration

Barefeet Theatre stage performance

Barefeet Theatre passionately believes in the transformative developmental power of the performing arts because Barefeet itself is a testament to that transformative power. Most of the members of Barefeet Theatre have grown up in conditions of extreme vulnerability and neglect. Before joining Barefeet, their youth was characterised by a hand to mouth existence, complete uncertainty about their futures and lives, and their potential was completely un-recognised, under-valued or un-utilised by the people around them. The performing arts (and Barefeet Theatre) has provided them with a voice, empowered them with a purpose, surrounded them with a community, trained them with a skill and equipped them with a powerful message – the message that young people count.

Barefeet Theatre has provided them with the means to express themselves and to use their story to effect positive change – change in themselves as individuals, change amongst their friends and families, change across their communities, and ultimately change in everyone who has heard their message, seen them perform or come to know their mission.

Emerging World Programmes we have partnered on.

ServiceNow – 2021 DIBS Leadership Summit

In 2021, 200 senior leaders at ServiceNow came together from around the world for two half days of learning at the company’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIBs) Leadership Summit. The leaders worked in 29 Action Learning groups. Each of these groups worked on a separate challenge presented by 25 different non-profit organisations from nine countries around the world, all working to address issues of systemic inequality.

“Barefeet Theatre benefited from this programme by not only bringing on board a topic that was challenging to our organisation but by also getting experts looking at the challenge with a different lens. Some people who were part of the group committed to continue working with us to find lasting solutions to the challenge. We were exposed to a leadership style that ensured we had the skills of looking at the challenges with different perspective through asking the right questions.” Grace Banda, Executive Director for Barefeet. Read more about this program here… 

Emerging World – Partner Learning Coaching Circle

Emerging World were proud to have Barefeet Theatre join the Emerging World Partner Learning Coaching Circle throughout February and March 2022. In a fully virtual setting, the programme was designed to support the ongoing learning and development of leaders within our partner organisation network.

In this truly global programme, a select group of purpose-driven, non-profit partners from 3 continents participated in the experience. The partners were able to collaborate on solving the challenges they currently face in their own organisations. This involved each partner bringing their most pressing issues to the table for discussion with the peer group. This kind of collaboration enables richer relationships in the partner network and facilitates peer to peer learning.

“The Peer Coaching programme was even more impactful to me as a leader. Learning from others, their experience and advice made the learning exciting. Inclusion, bias, and challenging assumptions especially resonated with me. Ensuring that I do not project my own bias, ensuring that I include everyone made me aware and question my motives each time I make decisions. Most importantly, being aware and asking the right questions has made me look at leadership differently. Its not the easiest thing, but being consistent has really helped.” Grace Banda, Executive Director for Barefeet

Interested in joining our partner network

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