Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe has hailed the impact of a community outreach play highlighting gender-based violence. The play, titled Shades of I-She: Every Woman’s Story, is around 75 minutes long and was held over the weekend at the Anne Mitchell-Gift Auditorium in Scarborough and Belle Garden Multi-purpose Facility.
Speaking to Newsday on Monday, Cudjoe praised the utilisation of arts to get an important message across to the public. She believes the play resonated with the audience and hopes more people get a chance to see it.
"It's a play put on by Dr Eintou Pearl Springer and her team and I found it to be interesting, educational and enlightening. There are a few things in that play that every woman can affiliate or connect to and it was just a pleasure to witness.
"I wish all of Tobago can see it. The quality was top notch. The type of critical thinking and genius that went into the development of that play was top class work, and I feel it is something that we ought to see throughout the Caribbean."
Cudjoe said women empowerment still needs to take place in the workplace and community and believes the play showcases some of the challenges women face daily.
The Sports Minister said authorities need to find different ways to communicate with the younger generation and the arts is one of the tools which can help drive home the message.
She said the event was well put together to not only raise awareness but help women find solutions to problems.
"There were difference scenes (in the play) and at the end of the scene, one of the performers gives advice on what the woman should do. At the end of it all, there was information on where you can turn to the different offices that offer help. There is a group in Tobago, Women of Substance, had a display and there was also a clinical psychologist present, dealing with women who raised significant issues and needed help afterwards."
Although there was not a large number of men present in the audience, Cudjoe said this encouraged women to feel more comfortable about sharing their individual stories afterwards.
"There were people who opened up about situations that would have happened to them and shared their stories. And everybody came to the agreement that this must be spread as far as wide as possible – not just to women but men, to understand the role they play as it relates to gender-based violence and preventing that type of behaviour."
Cudjoe thanked the Office of the Prime Minister's division of child and gender affairs for getting Tobago to see the play.