A beautiful piece of art can leave a lasting impression on our minds. Writing a poem or a story, or engaging in the creation of any form of art can help rid us of emotional baggage. When it comes to children, art serves as a form of expression and creativity. It not only helps in moulding their personality but also carves more opportunities for them.
Realising the need to integrate art into education, Jigyasa Labroo and Gaurav Singh founded the Arts for Social Change Initiative (ASCI). The children they worked with got several opportunities to learn and grow, including a performance at the 2017 Spoken Word Fest in Mumbai.
indibeat spoke to the young duo about their endeavour and how it’s creating a positive impact.
IB: What drove you to start ASCI?
(What drove us is) growing up in an education system that undermines self-worth, and the value of finding one’s own voice, along with the experience at the Teach for India fellowship, where we realised that our dreams for children, especially in low income communities, are largely limited to academic outcomes and job security.
The challenges that we face as a nation because our children don’t have a voice — like not reporting of sexual and corporal abuse, low EQ, and a drop in creativity and imagination — are huge. ASCI aims to address these challenges.
IB: You’ve been working with children for a long time. What is the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of your role?
The challenging aspect is that every child requires unconditional love, and an opportunity to taste success once to be able to replicate that success in other areas of her life.
To establish a relationship that deep, and to find what the child will be successful at within a limited time, is extremely challenging. To not give up on our children, and overcoming our own insecurities as we do that, is challenging.
What’s rewarding is: to expose a child to something they’ll succeed in, and to be able to communicate love in a way that a child internalises it and is motivated by; also, seeing creation in the work we do and to see people transform on this path of creation.
IB: What’s your message to our readers? How and why must they get involved in your cause?
A lot of us have had some great exposure and gifts that we take for granted, but once shared, can change someone else’s life.
If you have a gift that you’d like to share, get in touch with us. You can contribute with time or resources, as long as you resonate with our vision.
IB: What are the roadblocks for the people/organisations doing social work in India?
We think the biggest one is a mindset that doesn’t allow organisations to collaborate. There’s so much good work happening in silos!
The only way ASCI has sustained is through collaborations — and we can vouch for the value-add that multiple perspectives, expertise and gifts bring in.
IB: What are ASCI’s plans for the future?
To make arts more and more accessible, and to get on the journey of self discovery and wayfinding with those who’ve never had the chance before.
ASCI can be reached via their Facebook page Slam Out Loud. Every year, they select young artists for their fellowship program, who get an opportunity to work with underprivileged children.
If you like their initiative or know someone who will, do share this story with them.
Image Credit: ASCI