SCHOOLGIRLS in Nelson Mandela Bay’s impoverished Zwide will get a rare glimpse into the global arts world when American pupil Madeleine Lippey returns to the city with school friends next month as part of a campaign to empower women.
Madeleine, 16, was first introduced to the Bay’s Zwide pupils by the Ubuntu Education Fund – a non-profit organisation started in the Bay about 10 years ago aimed at uplifting pupils in impoverished communities – when she visited last year.
Now she is returning for a conference that she has dubbed Do Write, which will take the form of a workshop to introduce schoolgirls to writing and photography.
Madeleine said she would bring along fellow pupils from her home-town of Connecticut in the US, and would also have other friends she met abroad in India, Pakistan, China and Korea address pupils via Skype. “The Ubuntu staff are truly the kindest, most passionate people I have ever come into contact with and I am honoured and humbled at this opportunity to work with them,” the American teenager said.
The Do Write conference was based on the idea of bringing together ambitious young girls between the ages of 13 and 18 who, despite being from very different walks of life, shared a common passion for determining the future of female empowerment and expressing their life experiences through writing and art, Madeleine said.
The conference will consist of a series of writing and photography workshops in South African townships, and include discussions on human rights issues.
Madeleine will also head to Cape Town for a similar conference.
“The Do Write movement is about voice – never face.
“I believe that expression is defined by the longing, the frighteningly deep need that each and every one of us carries inside ourselves to find love and be loved by the people who make us feel like waking up each day is right,” Madeleine said.