By Desire Elizabeth Mtawali
Beauty with Soul(BWS), is a programme for abused girls and women, which uses drama as the main therapy for young girls and women who have gone through abuse.
Roselyn Madalo Dzanja is the founder of BWS and a bachelor of arts graduate, from the university of Malawi who majored in drama.
“I use art, drama to be precise because I was trained in art and the training and experience has taught me that art is therapeutic, it helps you see life at its realest and at it most ideal. And one can easily express and empathise using drama.” … according to Dzanja.
The programme was launched with the aim of helping women, girls and children to overcome depression that comes with the trauma and helps the victims take back their lives and seeks to distance the survivors from the perpetrators and the situation.
According to Dzanja, the programme has so far been successful with the help of local police officers, a psychologist, as well as a hospital counsellor, who had their hand in the pilot programme.
“because of the success of the pilot programme, we have been encouraged to do a second phase away from the school setting and help young girls and women in communities.” … Dzanja said.
One of the victim is Janet (not real name) an orphan, when Dzanja first met Janet, she was a little held back in group sessions, she had a dream of becoming a nurse. However, Janet was being pushed into marriage by her Aunt. Janet was successfully forced into marriage and dropped out of school, but with the BWS’s persistence of follow ups and sessions with her Aunt, things changed and with the help of other relatives that BWS located, Janet found a new home and went back to school.
Lucy was another victim, under the abusive arms of his uncle who was forcing her to bed. Lucy was locked in with no option of going to her parents, for the uncle was the main provider of her necessities and he never granted her permission to leave his house. After several attempts BWM managed to convince Lucy’s parents to invite their daughter for the holiday, but Lucy landed back in her nightmare after the uncle threatened her parents. Lucy got pregnant and her uncle forced her to have an abortion which made her bleed death.
“we lost a 17-year-old with so much potential.” Dzanja added, according to Dzanja the uncle was arrested.
BWS is self-funded, a short programme that runs in phases, after a group is successfully done it closes to generate the following required funds.
However funding is one of the biggest challenge, Dzanja also added that support from the parents is usually a problem, as they neglect such cases, and makes things even worse.
“the other challenge is support from local law enforcement officers which is mostly hard, they are at times reluctant to handle a case and it requires our effort to push, this is common when we are dealing with new cases” … emphasised Dzanja, who is also the Owner of Crown Investments and the country’s representative of Association for Progressive African Youth.