David Wongis creating Marketplace Business Network
Your support for this Theater Work is crucial in rebuilding the Dignity and Confidence of a displaced people. Their lives matters.
You may not be able to Change the World ... but you can make a difference to one Life, to a small community ... to 1,400 Afgan Refugees in a Foreign Land.
Touching Lives By Taking Action
( Love not only in Words but in Deeds )
About David Wong
A playwright leaves the country after facing death threats from the Taliban and finds refuge in Malaysia, where he teaches the Theatre of the Oppressed to his fellow refugees, to help give them a voice.Saleh Sepas, a theatre director and playwright who fled to Malaysia last year and is the driving force behind Parastoo, is also a believer in the Theatre of the Oppressed; a methodology devised by the Brazilian director and dramatist Augusto Boal. It’s a philosophy that’s based on the idea that theatre should inspire revolutionary change in society.
“The Theatre of the Oppressed changes the mind and the thinking,” Sepas explained before the performance.
“[On stage] we can talk about peace, a better life, our economic difficulties. We can forget about our past life because the past was war. Instead, we can see and focus on the future; on life.”
In Malaysia, Parastoo is helping refugees take centre stage in a quest for hope and acceptance.
Theatre also acts as a form of release and escape, allowing him and other refugees to voice their fears and frustrations, instead of struggling silently.
There are about 1,400 Afgan refugees staying in Malaysia.
Malaysia does not grant refugees protection and legal rights. As such, they cannot work legally, or access public services, such as government schools, leaving them with few avenues to improve their desperate circumstances.
Most hope to be legally resettled in other countries, but the wait can span years.
Living under such circumstances drove Saleh Sepas to start Parastoo.
A writer from Afghanistan in theatre, radio and television - including a drama that aired on BBC Radio - Saleh had advocated for women’s rights.
This drew the ire of the extremist Taliban movement, which issued him death threats, and in 2016, desperate to protect his family, Saleh fled with his wife and three kids to Malaysia.
They are among thousands of refugees in the country, who are stuck in a limbo that has chipped away at their hopes, aspirations and self-worth.
“These are the difficulties, experienced by refugees every day and every moment,” he says. “It causes depression and a lack of self-confidence. They lose their sense of importance and capability.”
So Saleh started Parastoo and recruited amateur actors from the refugee community. He wanted to stage plays for the public, which would end with Q&A sessions to promote dialogue between Malaysians and refugees.
He had no money for props, venue rental or other expenses, but persevered, eventually garnering funds from crowdfunding initiatives. The group has been performing since 2017.
The hope is to engage society through these performances. “We can highlight the problems of our people...And we want to create a new belief towards immigrants, that (we) can also do good.”
We are a group of Refugees who want to fight the
challenges, problems, and disturbances through the
theater. We look forward to your support so that we
could work better in our productions. Unfortunately, we are in a situation whereby we will not be able to work without your funding and financial support.
We will try and present the Plight of the Afgan Refugees with regular updates .... Not "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind"