Dramatic Need is a creative arts charity helping young people in Africa to build hope and self-belief in the face of conflict, trauma and hardship.

We work in rural areas of South Africa to provide creative-arts education, resources, and psycho-social support for children and youth.

We promote creative expression as a tool for conflict resolution, social development, gender-empowerment and for the communication of positive health messages.


We work in two ways. The first is through direct community intervention, through our children’s programming, community outreach initiatives and teacher-training programmes. These are all based at our community arts centres in rural Free State, South Africa.


The Second is through our Volunteer Program which sends local and international arts professionals to host issue-based workshops in underprivileged and rural communities in South Africa.

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We strive to help our children and young people develop:


Personal confidence: self-awareness, self-motivation, self-belief, emotional resilience and drive, recognition of their strengths and passions, and the ability to confront and overcome trauma and difficult circumstances without becoming overwhelmed.


Increased creative skills and visual literacy: a knowledge and understanding of a national creative and cultural heritage within the international cultural landscape; interaction with, and inspiration from, a wide ranging variety of artists and cultural landmarks; practical creative skills and dedication to developing creative talents.


Greater awareness of personal and mental health: understanding of health risks and social issues affecting their community, knowledge of sexual health and the ability to communicate this knowledge.


Open and productive communication skills: both via artistic mediums and open discourse, with family, community and friends; particularly in regards to health, sexuality, violence and subjects generally considered taboo.

Active engagement with formal education: a creative approach to problem solving, and an enthusiasm for academic and personal development with a view to developing long-term meaningful job prospects.

What Does

Dramatic Need Do?

Our Aims

Our Objectives

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To provide permanent safe spaces within rural communities in the form of bespoke art centres. Here  young people can confront and discuss taboo and sensitive subjects, discover and explore new talents, develop stronger communication and collaborative skills, and build confidence.

To build a forum for emotional release and community accountability through the creation of - and engagement with – the creative arts.


To implement targeted and applied arts workshops focused on community specific issues in order to develop self-awareness, encourage creative play and smart decision making, and provide constructive extra-curricular activities.


To work closely with local schools and educators to identify and support young people in need, encouraging them to re-engage with formal education bringing new attitudes and increased self-worth, developed through creative expression.


To promote international collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas and cultures through an international volunteering programme. We encourage arts professionals from around the world to share their skill sets and introduce young people to new artistic pursuits and career paths.