RAISE a Child
Ramana Art Form Interventions for Self-Awareness and Excellence
RMCL’s modest step to make a difference to the less privileged
The new services revolution sweeping the Indian society is improving the lot of millions directly. It is also perceived that it is benefitting at least 4 to 5 people more indirectly. However, to be a recipient of this benefit, it is widely observed that the individual has to have one leg on the economic ladder of progress. The best time to embark on the journey to this economic freedom is during the childhood.
Children who come from the lower economic strata of society are often disadvantaged even though they are hard working and intelligent. Our observation shows that most of these children do not lack in intelligence and creativity but they often lack in communication and confidence. The paucity of communication skills becomes a double-edged sword preventing them from fully imbibing the inputs that they are given as well as being a road block in their expressing whatever they have imbibed. Further, the absence of self-confidence springing from lack of self-awareness becomes a major obstacle in everything that they do.
It is with this background that we have been running this program RAISE (Ramana Art form Initiatives for Self Knowledge and Excellence.) for the past four years This is a 25 session program. The classes focus on building the self- awareness, communication and holistic development of children aged between 6 and 12 years, both boys and girls, with no consideration of religion, caste.
The program of 25 weeks duration (or of 25 classes with 2 or 3 sessions a week for a shorter duration as an intensive course) presently works with 900 children in 4 schools. The program was launched in one of the government schools in the neighbourhood of RMCL, the Govt. Model Primary School, Geddalahalli in the academic year 2013-2014. It includes all the students from class I and VIII. One of the significant features of the program is to include every child.
Our experience with less privileged children shows that they are sent to work after school hours and the best way to ensure success is to conduct the program in the school premises; in fact many schools are happy to embrace this intervention.
The sessions involve a series of theatre based activities that aim to improve the child’s ability to form and deal with concepts, increase focus on creative thinking/problem solving, improve communication and self awareness thus leading to greater self-esteem. The sessions are conducted by facilitators who are trained in the Theatre Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) methodology conceived and pioneered by Dr.Ambika Kameshwar. The group activities make use of all four theatre tools namely, Story (Listening, reading and narrating), Drama (Dealing with emotions and developing inter-personal communication through dialogue), Song (building harmony) and Dance (Countering self-consciousness and effecting an improved use of visual communication through better body language).
Every child is a star
Most importantly, the children are given an opportunity to participate in a stage presentation at the conclusion of the year’s course. This production is carefully conceived not only with an aim to improve the self-knowledge and communication skills of the children but it is also directly linked for the most part to enhance their understanding of their academic syllabus as well. The performance is held at the Centre’s auditorium in front of their teachers, parents and invited audience. A simple lunch/dinner is provided to all the students on the days of the performances.
Every student attending is provided with a certificate and a small gift which could be a book and/or a video DVD containing the children’s works.
Our estimated cost for each student for this 7 month program is about INR 3000 or $50. This includes the cost of the faculty, auditorium, costumes, lunch and other incidental expenses for the children on the day of the performance.
How you can help ?
You can participate in multiple ways
- Own the complete program for 900 children
- Own a group of children - one school – 100 to 300 children
- Own one child
- Own the refreshments fee on all the three or one of the stage events
- Sponsor the faculty for the year
- Sponsor one stage event
How else can you Participate ?
We would encourage your participation on the days of the stage performances by attending the events and/or helping backstage with costumes, sets, properties, exhibits, lunch and refreshments to the children etc. You could interact with the faculty during weekends to help prepare materials that would be used in the training program. You could help to maintain the costumes and properties. We would actively look for your feedback on how else to improve the program and you can personally see at close quarters the difference you have made to the children.
We believe that by this program, we are making a large difference to the lives of the 900 children who are presently benefiting from this program and thereby to their families as well. Based on the availability of support and volunteers we can plan to expand it in multiple ways such as a) offer more programs c) Offer scholarships to specially talented students for attending extra classes in the evenings in various cultural disciplines that would further enhance their skills d) Offer scholarships to specially talented children, especially to girl children, to continue their academic learning till their degree/post graduation.