EGYPT – November 8 2019 Young performers take centre stage in Cairo A group of young performers in the Harakat artistic group took the stage in the famous Alhosabir theatre in Cairo last week, showcasing the play they worked tirelessly to prepare for more than one year. The 65 children who make up Harakat, which means “movement” in Arabic, performed in front of a packed theatre of around 500 people. “I’m always inspired by children when they are training or performing on stage, and amazed by their outstanding capacity to be creative,” says Adel Nasr, a professional choreographer at Harakat. The play that the children chose, developed, and performed is a comedy that addresses the topic of freedom through the fictional story of young Abdu. Since his early years, Abdu has pondered many existential questions such as why we live, why we have to go to school, or why we die. In the play, Abdu’s questions go unanswered by his parents and later, when he grows up, his parents do not let him make his own choices in life. Abdu develops the courage to pursue his convictions and to influence others to be free to make their own life decisions. The annual performance has become a tradition for Harakat over the past eight years. It is part of several such activities carried out by SOS Children’s Villages Egypt under the theme of ‘development through art’, which provides a creative outlet for children enrolled in the family strengthening programme. It views art as a means for self-development and encourages children to face their challenges in an expressive and interactive way. The project is rooted in the belief in the therapeutic effect of art to heal deep-seated wounds and to enhance children’s learning and creativity. “One main impact we have noticed in the children is that art educates; it makes them see violence as something unacceptable and that many non-violent ways can solve problems,” says Mostafa Hozayen, actor, theatre director, and Harakat group director. “For instance, when they first join the programme, children tend to think of performing violent scenes, but that changes within one year or less,” he adds.