STRONG AS STEEL, YEBO! (SASY) is a Life Skills, Empowerment and Livelihood Skills program for girls and boys.
Goals of the SASY program:
- Develop self-esteem and inner strength in girls and young women.
- Educate on the dynamics of gender-based abuse.
- Work through the process of life transformation from weakness to strength.
- Become economically self-reliant.
- Prepare them to become effective mentors of their peers.
For boys and young men, the program is designed to:
- Develop respect for self and others.
- Foster inner strength and hope.
- Encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
- Provide what may become an income generating skill.
THE STRONG AS STEEL CONCEPT
The SASY concept calls for use of a music medium as a tool for life transformation.
The instrument of choice is one with roots in Africa but quite popular throughout the Caribbean, the United States, parts of Europe and South America. It is the steel drum, an instrument that grabs the attention of music-lovers but which does not require formal knowledge of music to develop proficiency.
Steel drums that are used as musical instruments are discarded oil drums trimmed, smoothed, etched, fired, and professionally tuned and chrome-plated until it becomes an attractive, pricey instrument. Steel band orchestras have performed at street corners, in cafes, in massive auditoriums and centers for the arts worldwide, and in the palaces of kings and queens. The music covers the spectrum from folk to calypso, contemporary, gospel, rock, hip-hop, jazz, the blues and classics.
It can be played in orchestras of 150 as well as in duos and trios, in schools as well as concert halls. It is the power of the symbolism that makes it also a dynamic tool for abuse prevention and recovery, and to teach AIDS prevention, self-esteem and the power of personal choice. An instrument that begins as a discarded oil drum suitable for use as a trash bin, which experiences a metamorphosis that puts it alongside the finest instruments in both economic and performance value, is a suitable metaphor for at-risk youth marginalized by AIDS, abuse, poverty and hopelessness.