My Canvas

And when this grand canvas, our life, is finished,

may the world in some small way or large way, be a better place

– Robert Regis Dvorak 
Everybody can fulfil their potential, regardless of ability. My work of the past few years is to work directly with the many stakeholders in building an inclusive and empathetic society. Working with children, training and mentoring Educators to re-imagine classrooms and learning facilitation and taking creative interventions into the community is the canvas of the work that I do.
Children and young adults look for spaces to just be and discover themselves. “Special needs” is not just a politically correct phrase; it is the recognition that “normal” is relative and needs are special in seemingly “normal people” too. It is the recognition that children are dynamic learners; there are more ways to educating children than just through logical and linguistic learning. It is important for learners of all ages to be engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially and soulfully.
Every child reminds me of the layers that I wear, Of the masquerades and facades we adults share, Of interconnectedness beyond petty barriers, Of tenderness and beauty like that of flowers, My gratitude to children all over the world, My fervent wish – bring everyone into your fold!
School systems have traditionally stressed the importance of teaching all children in a uniform manner. This has made it difficult for them to include those children who learn very differently. In fact, schools are belatedly recognizing that they are also leaving behind many students who are in class, but who too need to learn differently from the uniform approach that they’ve adopted. This stems from their lack of diversity in how these traditional systems see ‘learning’.
The core idea is to provide a scalable and credible alternative to address a growing need in society to work with and empower children with disabilities. Lack of inclusion in traditional learning systems, stemming from their lack of diversity in how these systems see ‘learning’ is particularly detrimental to those with learning disabilities, whose needs are often perceived to be therapeutic rather than for learning itself, albeit differently from other children.
My work with children stems from the belief that ALL children and young adults, regardless of disabilities, should have access to inclusive learning environments.
The Arts have an important role to play in achieving this.
The integration of holistic and innovative practices in the prevailing learning protocols is the need of the hour for improving existing services in education, for re-imagining learning facilitation in order to co –create empathetic receptive learner led classrooms.
In re-imaging learning there twin advantages of (a) helping institutions to more effectively steer the learning of all their students, & (b) enabling them, in the process, to be more inclusive of children with needs. My work with educators is to achieve this & bring multiplier value and continuing proof.

“You are the community now. Be a lamp for yourselves. Be your own refuge. Seek for no other. All things must pass. Strive on diligently. Don’t give up.” ― Gautama Buddha

Problem solving essentially needs creative minds as it gives us the ability to see the whole. Here I am trying to change the nature of the problem. In order to do that firstly I had to increase the no. of people who know the problem and then increase the number of people who know the solution.

My main area of work is in bridging the development deficits. In the space that I am working in the landscape is such that two things need to be done, first create opportunity and secondly enabling additional possibilities. Every community has a role to play. A community becomes an Institution of Care, an Institution of Learning and an Institution of Possibilities and Opportunities.

Exploring creativity through arts based forms in a community setup acts as a catalyst for healing and learning. It is a way for one to grow and become sensitive to the beauty of nature, of social values and aesthetic aspects of life as a whole. The Arts rightfully are the community’s own resource that allows a viable model in bringing about change for ALL.

In our endeavour towards empowering our children, making places as accessible as possible for all and helping the world to become a more inclusive, more disability confident society, I feel that every community has to join hands and tread this path with each other. A community of people who can join hands, share stories, offer solution, help each other or simply offer services at a cost, every little bit of this is needed for this community to lead a life of acceptance.

My attempt is to bring together people for all walks of life to build this inclusive community. My work has focused largely on special populations, care givers and everyone who wishes to contribute towards building an inclusive society. It could be cleaning a lake, painting a wall, travelling telling stories; all of these have been instrumental in bringing people together and aspiring to do their bit.

A window into the small steps taken in travelling with stories to communities  : Communities