Friday, August 16, 2013

The Art of Hope

 “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see” - Degas
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The Art of Hope

Dear Friend,

At the outset, I would like to thank you for supporting us in our journey towards helping thousands of disadvantaged children achieve through arts.  However, we have been patchy in communicating about what we do and how we work. So every month I would like to share a story that reflects our work and successes.

This is the story of Balaji.

Balaji was 14 or 15 when he joined our arts education programme. He used to stay then at the Government Home for Boys. His mother, the lone breadwinner of the family had admitted him at the shelter, so that he could stay away from his alcoholic and abusive father and continue his school education. Besides performing well in school he took an active interest in theatre, folk music and performed at our arts festivals.

Balaji moved back home when his mother fell sick. He would start his day by distributing newspapers, cooking food, going to school and later doing other odd jobs. He completed his school Board examination with distinction, but continued working to support his mother, younger brother and abusive father. I still remember the joy and sense of achievement on his expressive face when he was selected for B Sc Visual Communications course at the Madras Christian College.

Then one day, Balaji came in unannounced into my room and laid out his sketch book before me.

“Sir, I drew this sketch. Do you like it?”

It was a three dimensional sketch of a traditional Rajasthani pot. It was definitely a good effort for a beginner.

“Good job da”, I said and looked back at him. He seemed rather uneasy and fidgety. He used to come regularly to my office every day after his morning job and before he left for college. But that day there were noticeable bruises on his chin and arms. One side of the face looked swollen than usual.

“What happened? Did you have a fall?” I was concerned.

He avoided my question and rambled about something disconnected.

After some persuasion he said, "My father bit me barbarously last night because I would not give him money for alcohol”. He also showed the bite marks all over his right arm and talked about how he had hurt himself on his face while trying to escape his father's hold.

“But don’t worry sir. This is not the first time. I am rock solid," he smiled.

“Anyway, I need to catch the bus quick, otherwise I will miss her,” winked at me and made a dash for the door.

There are hundreds of Balajis who would need your support.

Why don’t you make a small contribution today?  No amount is small.

So long,

Sriram V Ayer
Founder & CEO 
  There is a way - NalandaWay. Donate today.  
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