The Lighthouse Foundation will be shining like a beacon for society to follow as it moves to change the “it can’t happen to me” attitude which still exists in Barbados.
Officially launched on Saturday at the Frank Collymore Hall, the aim of the charity is to use the performing arts, namely drama and dance, to achieve its objectives in presenting “individual and behavioural based solutions and alternatives to problems which face our society today”.
Founder and Director Simon Alleyne will be using his wealth of experience as an actor and his passion for the performing arts to confront, highlight and offer suggestions and solutions to social issues.
A teacher at Combermere School, he is a former member of the Barbados Youth Parliament and once served his church as a youth pastor. He is known for his performances in productions such as Laff-it-Off, Pampalam, Bussa, A Monument for Moses, and Betrayal.
The Foundation selected the topic of HIV/AIDS as their first project area because “despite numerous and ongoing efforts by clubs, organisations, international bodies and government agencies, the attitude of ‘it can’t happen to me still prevails in Barbados”, said Alleyne.
He added: “Recent research on the matter reminds us that in the Caribbean, increased efforts at disseminating the HIV message to all segments of society have failed to create the desired and necessary behavioural change among our people. Furthermore, attempts to create awareness of sexual abuse and encourage persons to speak out against this social evil continue to be hampered by a belief that only certain people, types of people or people from a certain background or income bracket are likely to become victims or perpetrators of sexual abuse.”
The dramatic production, Redemption of Me, written by Jason Carmichael and directed by Alleyne, will be held again on March 23 and 24 at the Plantation Garden Theatre.
The production was first staged in September last year.
President of the Barbados Youth Development Council, Cherisse Francis, who spoke at the event, praised Alleyne and the other members of the Foundation saying that from its inception the Foundation resonated with that organisation.
She commended Alleyne and noted that he saw “a problem, realised that a new solution needed to be brought to the table and you became the solution”.
“As the umbrella organisation for youth organisations in the island, we are cognisant of the issues facing society especially pertaining to young people. Furthermore, the members of the executive all have a passion for the arts. “Though deemed unconventional at times, it has always been my belief that the arts are effective in relaying any message because of their universal reach and subjectivity which allows them to bridge any gap and breach the age, language and cultural barriers. Five people from different nations could try to tell each other the same thing through speech and they would never fully convey the message as much meaning and emotion would be lost in translation However, through the power of the human body in movement, dance, drama, song a message can be received and understood,” she said.
She added: “As you go through this journey you will always encounter naysayers but you must remember your vision and your mandate. This will be your motivation to push ahead. Aristotle has a quote which says ‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.’ This quote for me sums up the Foundation in name and in purpose. A collection of persons seeking to use the arts to be a lighthouse to a nation,” she added.
The President also pledged BYDC’s support wherever possible.