Tag Archives: Volunteer

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Celebrating this Festive Season

As the festive season draws near, The Yuva Ekta Foundation set foot on a new venture. Denave India presented us with an opportunity to display our with Arts at a Diwali Exhibition in their offices. For us, it was more than just a presentation. It was a chance to connect and reach out.

Expressive Arts and Art Therapy is a big part of the rehabilitation process in the spaces we conduct regular interventions. Two of those spaces include the Adharshila Observation Home for Boys (a Juvenile Remand Home in Delhi) and Arushi Girls Home (a Unit of Salaam Balak Trust), a shelter home for street and run-away girls. Techniques of theatre, music, crafts and dance have helped us uncover a latent talent base and many of these young ones are making a name for themselves in the field of art.

As a medium of expression, art is personal and intimate. Stories which remain unperturbed come to the surface, often offering a healing touch.  It is in this vein, we decided to conduct art and painting workshops in the above mentioned spaces. These workshops are a part of our longstanding ‘Threads of Humanity’ Program, an umbrella project that ushers art based interventions with ‘Youth At Risk’.

Bhaiya, hum Kya banaein?” (What do we make?) asked a young juvenile offender Sonu (name changed) as he stared at a piece of blank paper. “Kuch bhi bana le… jo marzi ho” (You can draw whatever you feel like). Just a small trigger and stories start to pour. Circular and rectangular cut-outs intended to be table coasters and bookmarks, became canvases that portrayed intense emotions of loss and hope. Many showed their impeccable skill with colours, drawing beautiful and intricate designs which our audience at Denave associated with.

Apart from coasters and bookmarks, we worked with Origami. The street and run-away girls from Arushi, patiently sat with our guest facilitator Nalini Das, as she carefully moulded simple pieces of origami paper into boxes for lightweight products. With envelopes, greeting cards and up-cycled newspaper pens, we had an inventory of 300 products that were up for grabs.

As the festival of light draws close, Hand Painted Diyas became a sensation. These were painted as part of our newest project called ‘Homecoming’. Our effort in this project is to bring together ‘Youth at Risk’ living under ‘Care and Protection’ to inmates in Old Age Homes. This interaction is facilitated through Expressive Arts.

Each piece was a story that we were proud to narrate. Many purchased items for Diwali, while some contributed to the cause. Each act of giving meant a connection with our intent and it is exactly what we’d hoped for. We further displayed our work at Diwali Exhibitions in Vasant Kunj and Teamwork Arts Pvt. Ltd.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to Denave for giving us this opportunity and a big thank you to those who contributed to the cause. The proceeds collected from these exhibitions will go in facilitating more Expressive Arts Programs at Adharshila and Salaam Balak Trust.

 

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Staging a Miracle

We just wrapped up our two-week Intensive Expressive Arts Workshops at Aadharshila Home for ‘Juveniles in Conflict With Law’, Kingsway Camp. The play that emerged out of these workshops, ‘Aadharshila mein ek din- A day in Aadharshila‘  was performed for the members of Delhi Judicial Academy, Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee.

Organised by Delhi Judicial Academy, this presentation was showcased at a seminar on ‘Capacity Building for Other Stakeholders’ and our theme was ‘Understanding Childhood- Dreams, Delinquency and Destitution‘.

This truly was an unforgettable experience for us as well as the boys, who got a chance to perform on stage and share their dreams with the audience present.

Click on the link below to access the Report-

Aadharshila Expressive Arts Workshop Report

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Community Theatre Workshops in Jahangir Puri

The Yuva Ekta Foundation conducted a 2 week-long theatre workshop with students of Govt. Co Ed. Senior Secondary School, K Block, Jahangir Puri. These workshops were conducted in the month of May, and mark the beginning of the second phase of our Community Outreach Project in the area. The Foundation has been trying to build a community base since July 2015, and these workshops were a marvellous experience.

We worked with 80 students from school in 2 batches for girls and boys separately. The workshops culminated in 2 distinct interactive performances that covered everyday issues in Jahangir Puri and their link with larger socio-economic problems. These performances were then showcased to the parents of the participants on 28th May, 2016. What followed was an intense discussion on relevant community issues which were portrayed and discussed through the use of Playback Theatre, by facilitators from The Foundation.

We would like to thank The Directorate of Education for granting us permission to conduct these workshops. We would also like to thank the school staff for helping us throughout this project.

We are on-course to build a network of community members. A pilot project that started with a group of 25 women, now includes more than 200 families.

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PLAYBACK THEATRE Workshop with Brian Tasker

The Yuva Ekta Foundation recently organised a three-day theatre workshop on the technique of PLAYBACK THEATRE, conducted by our guest facilitator Brian Tasker. Participants included actors and musicians from diverse backgrounds and organisations.

It was a great learning experience for all of us, and we aspire to set up Yuva Ekta Playback Theatre Group, which will be an integral part of our Community Outreach project at Jahangirpuri.

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A search for Dignity

Slums and Urban Villages have been an ongoing fancy of Social Sciences globally, particularly due to the acute problems of ‘Urbansiation’ they represent. Methodologies and conceptual paradigms have evolved over the years. There has been a steady rise among policy makers, activists and academicians alike, to focus on the idea of community growth and development. To be able to understand politics and social setup in a city like Delhi, requires us now more than ever, to get a firm grip on local political activities in various hinterlands of the city.

Jahangir Puri is one such area, forged carefully on lines of migration, region, religion, caste and class. A perfect microcosm for anyone who goes with the intention of ‘studying’ or ‘understanding’ the ‘other side of urbanisation’. However, we have to be careful not to romanticize our opinion on Jahangir Puri.

The Yuva Ekta Foundation has been trying to build in-roads into the area to start a ‘Community Theatre Program’. This project is a logical extension of our work at the Sewa Kutir Complex, Kingsway Camp, wherein we worked with ‘Juveniles in Conflict with Law’ for the past 5 years. Jahangir Puri has an inglorious reputation for being the bedrock of crime in the city.

Addressing issues specifically related to ‘Youth at Risk’ is a mammoth task. For this purpose, we have decided to take up one specific location in the city and start implementing a few of our ideas.

We have so far been able to fight innumerable barriers present either within ourselves as human beings and activists, or outside of our immediate control, in our ‘system’ (as we like to call it). At the first level, these barriers present us with unending questions about life ‘on the fringes’ and conditions, we in our offices aren’t used to. We begin to accept these questions not as challenges, but enriching experiences, which need to be looked at practically. Thus start our community visits, where we spend hours each day, going to people’s homes and trying to look at their problems empathetically. Most of our own beliefs are shattered for good; breaking inhibitions and creating ground for further work.

At the second level these barriers present us with institutional problems. How do we convince people to be a part of our project? What do we tell them? Are people willing to experiment with ‘Expressive Arts’? Where do we start our workshops? Of course the situation is out of control. Slowly and steadily however the pieces start falling into place. We are able to get people on board as we share our intent with them.

Here we are today, 2 months into the project, rounding up our first phase. Up to now, we have been able to get across to a little more than 60 families, each of whom has shared their ideas as to why they want to join this program. Each household has a story, each captivating enough for us to go keep going back and strengthening our connection.

Our Community Theatre Project is an experiment in ‘Community Centered Expressive Arts’. The idea is to make individuals more aware and involved in their life and surroundings. The challenge for us would be to address critical concerns in people’s lives through techniques like theatre, crafts, dance, music, up-cycling and more. We believe that through this medium, we will also be able to provide a reason for the residents of Jahangir Puri, to come together as one single unit, which can assert its rights and demands, collectively.

In this rather relentless exercise, we hope that as a Foundation, we can learn and grow manifold. The idea is not to impose our views and opinions on residents. We aren’t going there with the intention to ‘help the inferior’ in any possible way. Any inclination to think likewise is foolhardy. We, as facilitators, want to simply share, learn, expand and grow.

We start our second phase in the month of May. Schools are shut, the heat is on, but so is the intensity. We have invited all community stakeholders to participate. The group would be a pulsating unit cutting across age, gender, region, caste and religion. We simply cant wait to get back out there.

- Rijul Kataria works as a Research Coordinator with The Yuva Ekta Foundation.

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Finding me – Jaipur Diaries

The finding me workshop has been one of the most amazing things that I have ever experienced. This has truly changed the way I look at life drastically.

Ten days ago, when I entered the workshop, I did not believe in the fact that we, the youth, had the power of affecting and influencing people and encouraging them to be the better people that they are. This workshop has made me aware that people of my age face all kinds of problems. That mine are not the most important. That I am not the only one. It has taught me that everyone in this world, no matter what their caste, creed, color, shape, size; are the same. That we all think alike and experience the same things.

When we set out to spread this message to the youth, the feeling was wonderful. I realized that helping someone else overcome their flaws or plain accepting themselves and others as they are, is the best thing one can do.

I have realized that we, the youth, can make a great impact on the world, to make it a better place for you and for me.

- Simran Jain from Jayshree Periwal High School was one of the participants of the Youth Outreach workshop at Jaipur Literature Festival 2016

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Theater and Art Workshop at Aadharshila Juvenile Remand Home

In December 2015, the Yuva Ekta Foundation in association with Action Aid facilitated a week- long theater workshop at the Aadharshila observation home for boys. Working with a core group of 40 juveniles, we sought to evoke a sense of dignity and self respect in the boys we were working with, even as we created an opportunity for them to share their stories, so that they could step back and reflect on why they slipped into crime, and henceforth make responsible choices.

We started our workshops with ice-breaking workshops, wherein we connected with the boys using a variety of Theater Games and Physical/Vocal Warm-ups. With the help of activities like ‘Mirror Exercise’, we focused on forming connections within the boys using eye contact.

Once we had established a comfort level with the boys, we used Art and Creative Writing to share their stories and important people in their circles of influence, including their friends, families and society at large.

Our one-week project  culminated in a small performance for all inmates at the home, Honorable Justice Rajiv Shakdher, JJB Magistrate Mr. Vishal Singh, Ms. Sehjo Singh from Action Aid, representatives from CII Foundation, TDH and Delhi Legal service Authority.

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The Boy who was Afraid to Sleep

On the 17th of May 2015, The Yuva Ekta Foundation shared with the world its production as a part of the Kahani Festival, ‘The Boy Who was Afraid to Sleep’. It was a delightful little narrative about a boy who loves to live in a world of dreams. As happens with all happy stories, the boy loses his imaginary friend to a monster (an Octopus in our case) and decides never to sleep as he is scared to enter the world of imagination again. A Boy who loves sleeping hasn’t slept for nine months, three weeks and two days only to wait for a genie, who helps him overcome all his fears to make him happy, cheerful and sleepy again so that he can dare to dream.

It was a joyous experience watching this performance. For one thing, it made us enter into a magical world where anything was possible. The characters were able to successfully connect with the little ones in the audience whose innocent laughter and comments reminded us of the childhood we all dearly miss. But most importantly, this performance was a reminder to all of us that we should never give up on our dreams. Imagination is the biggest tool we have for it gives us the power to be a visionary.

The performance was followed by a workshop in which people of all ages, old and young participated. Everyone was asked to draw a character/person/figure who they imagined to be their friend. Three groups were divided and each individual shared their unique characters and stories to connect with each other and make one big story which was performed in front of everyone. Whether one was young or old didn’t matter. What mattered was that people were able to connect with each other through their ideas, expressions and stories.

We are extremely grateful to Teamwork Arts Pvt. Ltd. for helping us manage the venue and make it show-worthy. We would also like to thank One World College of Music for giving us the space and time to make this event possible. The Yuva Ekta Foundation will continue to strive and create a network of young people and minds who believe in the power of dreams!

- Rijul Kataria has a Masters in Sociology from JNU and is deeply interested in incorporating theatre in research. He’s an ex Yuva Ekta participant turned facilitator and is currently working with the Yuva Ekta Foundation

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Vocal Rasta and Natya Rasta-2015

Facilitated by the Yuva Ekta Foundation as a part of the Sounds of Freedom youth outreach program, Natya Rasta-  the Street Theater Group, and Vocal Rasta- an A Capella Choir, worked on the theme of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

A dynamic group of young people between the ages of 18 – 26 years came together to take a hard look at our social conditioning, to explore our attitudes and beliefs that lie at the core of all our relationships.

The outcome of 6 months of hard work was an extraordinary Street Play - ‘Gender Bender’ and original compositions that raised difficult questions of when we will evolve towards a more ‘gender-just’ world, where we break stereo types and redefine terms like “Masculinity”, “Feminism”, “Transgender”? A world where all Humans are considered Equal!

The groups performed in various public spaces across Delhi/NCR and the acts were greatly appreciated by the audience.