The ‘essence’ of Tadra-Kahani is a reflection of how music, song and dance have always been a part of our cultures and how young people can use these age old forms of expression to communicate strong positive lifestyle messages about what affects their lives in today’s modern world.
Tadra-Kahani is the final culmination of two months of preparation by over 2,000 students and teachers around Fiji. This preparation has taken students through an intensive creative arts development programme involving producing a full scale stage show and all the elements involved, team building, confidence building and relationship building with their families, friends, supporters and communities, learning about their own and other's cultures and traditions - and much much more.
But - what exactly is Tadra-Kahani?
To begin we must begin with the name itself. Tadra is ‘dream’ in the Fijian language and Kahani is ‘story’ in Hindustani. Tadra-Kahani is a ‘dream story’ performed in a full scale stage production. The show is about young people expressing their ‘dreams, hopes and aspirations in a story dance on stage in front of their peers, their history, cultures and traditions all interwoven with who they are today in this modern world.
We have always encouraged students to use the resources around them when putting together a Tadra-Kahani performance. Resources not only include the physical, material things around them but also knowledge - knowledge from elders and people in the community that understand how dance and music can be used to tell a story and a message, knowledge of the cultures and traditions of their people and others.
Having said that - what relevance does Tadra-Kahani have to anyone?
There are schools who have participated in Tadra-Kahani that do not have running water, do not have power and for them to get messages to and fro they have to use carriers and buses to deliver them because they do not have any other contact with the outside world.
That there are children in Naitasiri, Gau, Rabi and Savusavu that have been part of Tadra-Kahani but had never been to Suva or to a town.
That when we go to visit these schools, the entire community comes out to welcome us with open arms and hearts proud to be associated with the event and proud that their children are part of it.
But what does that mean?
It means that even though some of these children live under difficult circumstances, that some do not have water, power or modern communications, they can still come out of their communities and through Tadra-Kahani they can come and perform on the same stage, at the same level as the more affluent urban schools and tell US about issues that affect THEM, about global messages that mean something to them, about nation building and peace, that even though they may live in rural areas under these circumstances, they have a voice and that they want to be heard.
Tadra-Kahani is not about their race or religion, it’s about their performance, their development in creative arts, the lifestyle messages that mean something to them, their hopes and dreams.
On the other side of the coin, the urban schools get to meet and learn from the students from the rural areas. They are able to see what can be done with little and appreciate and value what they have in their lives.
Tadra-Kahani is a strong supporter of young people getting to know who they are, where they come from and what they can achieve. This is an integral part of their search for self.
Our education system leans more toward academia and sports and there is often another group who are culturally and artistically inclined who can be neglected. Academia and sports have their place but Tadra-Kahani opens up a whole new world for young people helping them to discover their creative sides and encouraging more lateral thinking.
Often adults underestimate our youth and try to hide reality from them. The irony is young people are so much more knowledgeable about the realities of issues such as HIV/AIDS, human rights and the likes and this has shown in many performances over the years where we have had adults tell us that a performance was ‘too literal’, ‘too expressive’ – sometimes adults prefer to control the reality but quite frankly the young people are often more in tune with the reality than many adults.
Tadra-Kahani is about all creative arts and provides an outlet not only for the release of this creativity but also giving the students involved something they can be proud of and that they can contribute towards. Sometimes we don’t even know we are creative until something is done to stimulate the creativity. We have had many cases of students who didn’t realize they could draw, dance, choreograph or manage and organise until Tadra-Kahani. When they realize they have this potential it gives them a sense of belonging and increased self esteem.
The Teacher's role in Tadra-Kahni is to provide guidance and direction to students and their role is critical. Enthusiasm is contagious and we have always found it only takes one enthusiastic teacher to make a difference to hundreds of students. Fortunately there are many great forward thinking teachers in our community who see the positive benefits of Tadra-Kahani and take it upon themselves to work with the students.
There is no other event in Fiji that caters for the creative development of young people to the degree that Tadra-Kahani does. Tadra-Kahani is not just a one night event. It is an event that runs over two months that culminates in two nights of incredible stage shows. There is no other event for young people that gives strong lifestyle messages from THEM to US.
Tadra-Kahani costs this year will be around $90,000 and as with every year, profits made from the event will distributed back to ALL participating schools. Over the last 4 years we have redistributed more than $110,400 back to the participating schools. This year we anticipate been able to continue with the tradition.
We are also grateful for the strong corporate spirit of companies and organizations who have supported Tadra-Kahani over the years. Their support is always unconditional and always for the betterment of our youth. TFL, Vodafone, Twisties & the Ministry of Health are our partners this year and we are grateful for their contribution towards young people.
Tadra-Kahani is about young people – they are our future and through their performances they send us strong messages about what they want for their future – maybe as adults we should all start to listen and learn from them.