In line with its focus on Child Protection, ChildFund India launched its nationwide campaign “Khilta Bachpan” that aims to provide children aged 6-18 years, in underserved communities across the country, access to art education, in order to promote cognitive, social and emotional learning, encourage creative expression and inculcate in them appreciation for the richness and diversity of arts in India, while giving them a platform and an opportunity to “ENGAGE. EXPRESS. EMPOWER!”. ChildFund believes that in absence of a creative, open and secure option to express, young children can be negatively impacted. Through this initiative, ChildFund hopes to reach over 250,000 children and young people over 2 years across 15 states in India.
The campaign was launched by Padma Shri Kathak Guru Smt Shovana Narayan, who was the Chief Guest of the event organized at Sarvodaya Co-Ed Senior Secondary School in Delhi. The event saw amazing performances by children trained by acclaimed artists Ms Richa Jain, Kathak Dancer & Secretary of Cultural organization Kala Kunj and Mr. Walter Peter, Theatre Artist, and a thought-provoking panel discussion on “Importance of promoting Art as tool for Socio-emotional development and collaborating with various stakeholders for creating a better place for children” between Prof. Jessy Abraham, Prof. At Jamia Millia Islamia, Dr Asha Singh, Independent Child Development Professional, Mr Walter Peter, Founder Director of Laa Po Laa TIE-INDIA, Dr Sonika Kaushik, Associated with NCERT and Ms Snigdha Bisht, Programme Officer for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Aekta Chanda, Sr. Program manager – Education, ChildFund India.
The event was attended by government school children, Principals, representatives from various corporate organizations, government and non- governmental organizations as well as individual artists. Child Fund is initiating this campaign in 60 government schools in low income communities of Delhi, while simultaneously, expanding to over 2000 schools across the country, in the 15 states where ChildFund India is currently running its long term programs supporting the Right to Education Act. ChildFund is introducing these children to different art forms like painting, drama, dancing, music and singing through partnership with various like-minded government and non-government, corporate and funding organizations as well as individual artists. Padma Shri Kathak Guru Smt. Shovana Narayan said, “Culture is an integral part of every society and its understanding and integration is essential for a healthy and progressive world. I am delighted to be part of a cultural movement which educates children across the country in the field of performing arts, therefore sowing the seeds of a culturally rich country.”
“Our lifestyle currently is extremely mechanical and we are losing what used to be precious in terms of closeness, relationships and sensitivities towards our community! Our means of communication has changed dramatically lacking values, emotion, compassion and genuine care. It has, therefore, never been as important as now to rebuild and strengthen connections with our children and young people, especially the deprived and vulnerable. We must safeguard this generation and allow them to fulfill their dreams in a safe environment. Keeping this in mind, we believe Art in any form – literature, dance, painting, etc. when pursued with passion gives children an opportunity to channelize their energies positively and access to unexplored vistas of their personalities by opening doors to untapped opportunities. Through Khilta Bachpan we aspire to help children form a perspective, lose inhibitions, gain confidence as well as harnesses their potential and incubate their talents,” shared Neelam Makhijani, Country Director and CEO of Child Fund India.