NalandaWay was started with a staunch belief in art as a healing and learning medium. Through dance, music, visual arts, theater and films we work with children to find their voice, express through art and think for themselves. Our interventions have helped the kids to develop self confidence to be masters of their lives. Follow our chronicles and be a part of this amazing journey.
On a cool breezy evening Kalaivani, a happy chubby girl and I were sitting outside her thatched house on a raised platform meant for washing clothes. She and three of her elder sisters lived with their parents in a house that was probably less than the size of a toilet in our homes.
“So why don’t you ask your father not to drink? Then he would save money and all of you could live in a bigger house?” I asked.
She stopped shaking her legs and stared at me directly.
Sidestepping my question she asked, “How big is your home?”
“Slightly bigger than yours,” I answered, trying to be modest.
“You know my dad and mom had a love marriage. He used to look like a hero then. Mom has shown the photographs. He used to have a big mustache and my mom would say he looked like Rajnikanth. My mom is a big fan of Rajini,” she said with her eyes opened wide.
“He is a still good man, very loving and caring. He looks very old now. He drives an auto rickshaw and my mom works as a maid in the building nearby. But they don’t talk much these days. My dad sleeps outside in the nights.”
“My mom says that it is because of us four girls he chooses to sleep outside,” she dropped her face in silence.
What was she implying? I wondered.
Was she telling me that there was no space for affection and intimacy between her parents?
She was just 13 years old; could she be that perceptive of an adult’s need?
If she was so sensitive of adults’ needs, what about her needs? Had someone ever asked her?
If marginalized children were given an opportunity to talk about their stories to people who make decisions, would this world be different?
What if they had crayons, paint brushes or maybe even video cameras?
What stories would they tell?
What could they teach us?
Our children media teams have made over 42 short films and they are being screened to administrators, teachers, parents and other care givers. Their stories are changing the way welfare programmes are designed for them.
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