The Tunis Shapers are committed to shaping the future of Tunisia. They are divided into four groups, based on separate themes that were identified by Shapers as neglected priorities for the country: social business, citizenship and culture. The fourth group is a marketing and administration group that helps to coordinate projects across the board. Each group meets once a week, with all of them convening on a monthly basis.
The social business group has identified a school for handicapped children from disadvantaged families. Its facilities include a farm for zoo therapy because “animals don’t judge”. There have been many examples of children gaining confidence, learning new motor skills and improving social interaction thanks to contact with horses, goats, rabbits and chickens. The farm also provides vocational training to the older students and assists in job placement whenever possible.
The director of the school is committed to giving these children a “paradise” where they can feel free to be themselves and feel accepted. The Shapers are working with the school to create sustainable sources of funding. The school sometimes sells plants and flowers to a nearby supermarket, but their main sources of funding are currently grants. The Shapers will establish a three-year plan to turn the farm from a local association that depends on donations to a national example of a sustainable social enterprise, generating its own revenues while adding great value to the community.
The citizenship group is working on a report to see how each political party engages youth in politics. The group used the US as an example of a nation that integrates young people into each party and provides them with opportunities to learn and participate in a meaningful way (through, for example, internships). The citizenship group has organized a number of meetings with representatives from political parties, including a deputy to the prime minister and members of the Constitutional Assembly, talking about the need for youth involvement in politics.
The culture group sees the importance of the arts in creating a post-revolution Tunisian culture. The group wants to create low-budget, scalable cultural events and projects that highlight traditional Tunisian storytelling, music and other arts, as well as more contemporary arts and culture elements.
In June, the culture group put on an event in the garden of a university. The event featured a Shaper who plays a traditional instrument and an art professor who combined traditional storytelling with her contemporary paintings. During intermission, the Shapers turned the entrance of a university building into a makeshift gallery with photographs on the theme “Tunisia”.