About the Project
Dream a Difference provides a safe learning environment where children and young people across the world can connect with each other through poetry, share experiences, develop creative writing skills, and gain an awareness of social justice and human rights.
In partnership with young people across the world, we will explore and test the potential of technology to connect children and forge real relationships across political, cultural and socio-economic barriers.
The concept is simple - local poets will run monthly workshops and upload poems to a blog on the homepage of the site. In all other participating countries, children will have the chance to respond in poetry or letters to the poems that they connect with.
Led by Dr Nezamuddin Ahmad, a poetry competition will be opened to fifty two small schools operating in the Korali slums and the winning poems will be published online in March 2018.
Dr Nezamuddin Ahmad leads a project entitled Compassionate Korail in the Korali slum of Dhaka that was founded as a partnership between the Centre for Palliative Care (CPC) in Dhaka and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA). There are over 12000 households in the Korali Slum. Dr Ahmad is also Director of the Centre for Palliative Care at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in Bangladesh.
In Brazil the project is being led by Susana Prado, a teacher at Colegio Itamarati, a Secondary School in Sao Paulo where she will be working with a creative writing group for 12 – 13 year olds.
In Greece we are working in partnership with Melissa Network who work with refugee communities facing loss of home and identity.
In Palestine the project is led by secondary school teacher Rania El Swalhir and the poet is Hind Zaqout. Hind Zaqout studied Arabic Language at the University of Gaza and gained her teaching qualification in 2010. She also has qualifications in communication skills and constructive criticism. Hind has taught Arabic language at the UNRWA schools in Gaza since 2007 and has taught creative writing since 2015. Hind Zaqout led the poetry workshops for Dream a Difference in 2017 and we are delighted that she is continuing to work with the project this year. She is working with a group of secondary school children aged 12 – 14 years old.
In Uganda the project is situated in refugee camps and is led by the National Association of Social Workers in Uganda.
The artist is a songwriter and musician, Hassan Kayemba, who founded the Bitone Center for Children, located in the capital city of Kampala. The center is a music- based home that houses twenty-five children between the ages of 8 to 18, from every corner of Uganda. The program works with youth who have been traumatized by the death of their parents or loss of their home due to disease, war, or economic hardship. The full name of the center is actually Bitone Center for "Disadvantaged" Children, but to me, their attitudes reflect the contrary. The joy the kids experience from performing and nurturing their talents seems to transcend any losses they have experienced.
Two Ugandan musicians/actors, Branco Sekalegga and Hassan Kayemba, founded the center in 2004 in an effort to combine their passion for the arts with their passion for social change. Bitone provides education, life-skills, physical care, mental healthcare as well as a thorough understanding of traditional Ugandan music, theatre and folklore.
In the Uk the project is situated at two rural primary schools and one rural secondary school.
Lucinda Jarrett is a dancer, poet and playwright who has worked in hospice care and neuro rehabilitation for twenty years. She works in partnership with people to create ambitious collective performance pieces written in partnership with vulnerable people who are facing serious illnesses.
She has led residencies with the National Theatre Studio, directed Rosetta Requiem (2005) a song cycle developed in hospices across the UK with leading singer songwriters and featuring Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker, David Matthews and Roots Manuva. She directed The Song Rooms, a songmaking project for children in hospices (2007), wrote and produced The Magical Glow of the Co Op at Birmingham Rep written in partnership with people using St Marys Hospice Birmingham (2010) and most recently has co written and co produced Hospital Passion Play at The Victoria and Albert Museum (2017) composed by Orlando Gough.
She has also led online poetry project for World Hospice Day (2007) culminating in an anthology entiteled Life Lines and a poetry performance at Tate Modern. Lucinda also edited a collection of stories of arts and social change participation in palliative care entitled My Place at the Front of the Queue, Creative Engagement in Palliative Care (Radcliffe Press 2007).
Lucinda will be working at Chadlington Primary School with children aged 9 – 11years old and at The Cotswold School with a group of children aged 12 – 13 years old.
Chris Redmond is a writer, performer and musician whose work often focuses on cross-media collaboration. A regular at UK music and literature festivals, he has performed on BBC Radio One, BBC Radio Four (Bespoken Word and Pick of The Week), Sky Arts, BBC Scotland’s Culture Show and recently on Scroobius Pip’s XFM show The Beatdown.
Chris is the creator and host of Tongue Fu, one of the UK’s leading spoken word and music shows, where poets, comedians and storytellers perform with improvised music and films. Guests have included Kate Tempest, Akala, Robin Ince, Omar, Salena Godden, Ty and Howard Marks, with gigs at London Wonderground, The Udderbelly, The Barbican, Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room, Edinburgh Festival and many UK music festivals. “Poetry, but not as you know it…amazing.” The Guardian
“A wordsmith wizard, whose sublime art of storytelling in verse is impossible to ignore.” The Poetry Book Society
Chris will be working at Dartington Primary School with a group of children aged 9 – 11 years old.
Chris Olander has an MA in Creative Writing and has been a Poet-Teacher with California Poets in the Schools since 1984. He has taught poetry writing and recitation at elementary and high schools – and at colleges, correctional institutions, festivals and conferences – across the US. In 2017, under Nevada County Arts Council, Olander helped found Sierra Poetry Festival. For the Council, he is lead coach for Poetry Out Loud, a National Endowment for the Arts’ national recitation contest which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage and compete for college scholarship funding. Olander has published and recorded four chapbooks to music and in October 2017 published his first full length poetry anthology, River Light, under Poetic Matrix Press. He blends performance techniques with spoken word to create an action art poetry: musical image phrasing to dramatize relative experiences – poetry arising from oral and bardic traditions. He calls himself, “a sound poet exploring feelings, ideas, and meaning in rhythm patterns”.
Casey has an MA in English and has been teaching local children poetry for over a decade, at school, in workshops and at poetry camps. She is a poet teacher with California Poets in the Schools and teaches creative writing at Forest Charter School in Nevada City. She finds poetic inspiration from odd news stories, remarkable words, and the mysteries of the human body. Her first collection, Ex Vivo: Out of the Living Body was published by Hip Pocket Press in 2012, and another one is on the way. Kirsten lives at the top of Banner Lava Cap Mountain, once a volcano. Her home is minutes from Scott's Flat Lake, and less than an hour from the Yuba River in the South Yuba River watershed on the Western Slope of the Sierra.
Olander and Casey will be working in Nevada Country, California at two small rural schools entitled Grizzly Hill School and Washington School. In both schools they will be working with a musician.
Mildred Bosha is a social worker who is receiving mentoring to lead the creative writing project from Lucinda Jarrett. Mildred Bosha She is working with bereaved children aged 10 – 16 years old at Island Hospice, Harare. Mildred led the project in 2017 and we are delighted that Island Hospice continues to be a partner in 2018.
Mildred Bosha is working on the hospice programme designed for young carers and bereaved children which is aimed at promoting loss adjustment, coping and resilience which should in turn result in reduced vulnerabilities.
The Dare to Dream a Difference workshop is aimed at acknowledging and working with the children’s challenges by providing a supportive environment for the children to express their feelings and to share experiences. The children come together and through play, drawings, poetry, letter writing and discussion were able to open up, share their experiences and to express their feelings.
Island continues to conduct psychosocial support activities for vulnerable children in their community, understanding that these programmes need to be an ongoing process towards healing.