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Bringing social change through the arts

FOUNDER AND MANAGER OF VOYP: Chavanese Wint

SHE IS only 20 years old, but Chavanese Wint has done more than enough to suggest she is older than her tender age.

At 15 Wint founded her company, Voice of Young People, an outfit that aims to get young people away from criminality through performance arts.“I want to speak for young people who can’t speak for themselves,” says Wint, determination running through her voice.

“I want to give people a way out of gang culture and knife crime. I grew up in Stockwell, South London, and saw a lot of crime; it made me want to do something.”That something has been realised through the performing arts, a medium she discovered in school and went on to study.

“Doing drama, acting and writ-ing inspired me to do my own thing and set up my own com-pany,” she says.

“One of the main reasons why I have set up this com-pany is because as a young person myself I see the world just like other young person. I understand their main reasons as to why they are involved in gun and knife crime, and I know how hard it can be to get out of it. As a single mother, gang crime has made me want to protect other mothers whose children could be affected by gang violence.”

Her inspirational journey has been aided by her father, who encouraged her with more than just words.

“My dad helped me out with my funding. He paid for me to put on performances in theatres and showed me how to apply for grants, such as the Prince’s Trust.


CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION : VOYP Rehersal group

”Wint must be making her dad proud, for apart from com-bating youth crime, she fi nds time to write poetry and plays. “I’ve published a book of poetry, it’s called ‘Life is what you make it’, and it’s got 50 poems in it.”

All the poems are written by her – she is a prolifi c writer, she has another 200 or so unpublished poems up her sleeve.Wint likes to write about life. What she sees, she puts into words, poetry or drama.

“I also write songs, they are R&B love songs. My plays are about the challenges in life: crime; teenage pregnancy; and those kinds of things. Wint harnesses her own experiences in her writing; she has recently written a play which is to be put on at the National Theatre and will be performed by professional actors. It bears the same title as her book of poetry and is about a young single mother strug-gling through life.In reality, the father of Wint’s own baby daughter left them, leaving her to raise a child by herself. She is creating art out of her own struggles, constructing drama which mir-rors her own life story. Writ-ing also provides a release for her, a way of coping.

“If I see a young person die on the TV or in the news, I have to write about it to forget about it.”Her sensitivity to the outside world and issues that do not directly affect her is remark-able. Apart from writing about it, what does she do when she sees death? “I sit down and cry for hours,” she says.Wint is on a mission. What she is trying to do is admira-ble, and you would think she knows some good ways to “engage young people and keep them off the streets.”

Her chosen method is performance arts, but if she donned a mask and cape you would be tempt-ed to call her a super hero.

To find out more and contact Voice of Young People, email Chavanese Wint: voyp_mmp@yahoo.com

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