Project Unveil - Oluwadara Johnson, class of 2010

Oluwadara JohnsonDuring an exploratory research project in 2008, Oluwadara (Dara) Johnson learned that Nigerian secondary schools had an extremely high female dropout rate and that a surprising number of the girls were interested in theatre. This discovery inspired her to create Project Unveil, a social enterprise that uses performing arts to empower and educate “at-risk” girls via an intensive summer camp and complementary after-school program. Project Unveil also provides a wealth of resources to parents and guardians of students through the Project Unveil Academy.

Since 2009, Project Unveil has prevented 43 girls aged 11 to 19 from dropping out. Dara devised a clear methodology, entitled “dramatic education by inclusion-and-expression” (DEBIX), which serves as the engine of PU’s success. DEBIX involves active storytelling (which incorporates aspects of the traditional African moonlight story telling), play reading and writing, and acting to help “at-risk” female students express themselves with confidence and creativity. Via the DEBIX methodology, Project Unveil has turned girls who were at best ambivalent about education into eager learners, critical thinkers, leaders, and team players. This year, four of the 43 Project Unveil girls became the first females in their families and local communities to graduate from secondary school. Another one of the Project Unveil girls won an academic scholarship to one of the top-two schools in Nigeria. Project Unveil continues to have a tangible impact on the lives of young girls from Ibadan, Nigeria.

For more information about Project Unveil, please visit www.projectunveilnigeria.com