Hua Dan trains underserved groups to use the power of participation in theatre workshops and performances as a tool for personal and social transformation in their communities.
We have a particular focus on working with migrant women for the reasons of addressing the inequalities of opportunity rural women often face in China, coupled with their skills and natural aptitudes for working in the creative sector. Furthermore, since Hua Dan also works with children, we are creating a model of female leadership inspiring and influencing the next generation.
China’s migrant population of 200 million people faces limited opportunities due to their lack of education and the lack of upward mobility in the low-skilled job market. This large low-skilled class is becoming an impingement upon China’s economic and social development, and while the government recognises the necessity of bringing them into higher-skilled sectors, government training programs still reach only a portion of migrants, and only provide training in certain technical skills. Women migrants, particularly, suffer from low self-esteem, coming, as they do, from rural areas, where the pressure to marry and produce a male child is the primary expectation for their lives. Hua Dan is invested in offering more diverse, arts-based training and work opportunities for migrant women in particular, within the emerging creative and social enterprise sectors to fill this gap. We aim to offer more empowering models of employment for this population, ones that utilize their creativity, entrepreneurial ability and understanding of the needs of their own communities, rather than maintaining the status quo of them only being able to get jobs in factories or in the low-paid service sector. Furthermore, we see the entrepreneurial skills encouraged and developed in this model of employment to be intrinsically suited to the needs and capability of women and their role as carers and leaders in their communities.
Since our inception in 2004, Hua Dan has made a commitment to empowering migrant workers, particularly women, to learn theatre skills and lead our programmes, and we have already trained more than ten individuals to do this. We have created job opportunities that have empowered these individuals with earning potential far greater than otherwise possible, if they had stayed in manufacturing or waitressing jobs, as well as helped them build greater self-esteem, self-confidence and leadership skills for their future careers.
Read about some of the great people we have already trained in our Hua Dan Stories page.