Sistren Theatre Collective
Honor Ford-Smith was the founding artistic director of the Sistren Theatre Collective (STC) an independent women’s organization, established in 1977 that has effectively employed the use of artistic expression as a means of inciting social change. As a trailblazer in gender relations training, Sistren has creatively responded to the changing needs within communities across Jamaica and particularly in Kingston, which is plagued by violence, high unemployment and low occupational skills in order to help empower residents to change their situations. SISTREN uses the arts as a means of confronting the public on problems facing both genders, and brings pressure to bear on society to change negative stereotypes. The flexibility of SISTREN’s methodology has allowed the organization to adapt to its environment and implement a wide range of solutions to meet the needs of communities. Today, Sistren serves children, youth and adults in communities across Jamaica.
Sistren Theatre Collective has been one of six NGOs contracted by the Ministry of National Security to implement the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), a violence reduction and prevention initiative. Sistren was also one of five partnering organisations led by the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) implementing the conflict resolution component of the JSIF Inner City Basic Services Project. In 2008, Sistren was one of ten organisations worldwide to receive the UNHABITAT “Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Urban Safety, Crime Prevention and Youth.”
SISTREN has managed various projects funded by public and non-profit sector entities, local and international agencies including Ministry of Health, UNICEF local office, Christian Aid, Global Fund, Global Board of Ministries, and United Church of Canada. SISTREN has conducted a Gender Justice – HIV AIDS Programme across urban and rural communities from 1996-present; piloted a Male Leadership Development project and family therapy; held a youth Forum on Gang Violence with over 300 youth and parents from communities in Kingston; tackled relevant issues using street theatre and produced one major dramatic production and gala show using talents from inner city communities.