Grant Period: Over nine months
Gitanjali is an ABT (Arts Based Therapy) practitioner and an ABT guide for Bangalore and South India, taking care of special children in inclusive environments. She uses multiple art forms while working with children and adults with special needs. Working with children in learning centres and with young people in colleges she found the strength of integrating creative processes into learning.
Puttenahalli lake has an area of 13 acres and 25 guntas. Once a reservoir of sewage water and debris, the Puttenahalli lake now breathes life and has become the world of many birds, water snakes and fishes, thanks to the joint efforts of Enzen Water Solutions, Puttenahalli Neighborhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT), the caretakers of the lake and the BBMP. With this backdrop of the Puttenahalli Lake Revival Initiative, Gitanjali through this grant project will work with 30 children from the Puttenahalli Government School to explore artistic processes in understanding the importance of water and their immediate environment.
Gitanjali’s project stemmed from questions such as, ‘How do the children who live near the Puttenahalli Lake perceive water and its innate nature? Do they understand its importance and the environment they live in? Can they feel its subtle strength of healing, flow and creativity? What can they do to bring back the soul of the lake, participate in restoring their neighborhood, and in the process heal themselves?’
With an objective to facilitate a reflective dialogue with the children, she will explore artistic processes like storytelling, dance and movement, drumming and music, and theatre in understanding the context of vanishing lakes in Bangalore. She will draw the content for the program from the textbooks of the children between Class V to Class VII. She will work with two teachers from the school who will help her to look at mainstream content from textbooks through an artistic lens. Starting from identifying texts, reading those texts and eventually exploring these texts through song, drama, movement and puppetry will be the key focus of this project. She will also involve the two teachers in all her engagements with the school and the community that has been part of the PNLIT.
With a weekly engagement through the grant period, Gitanjali hopes that the children will be able to explore various aspects of life that includes breaking inhibitions, celebrating differences, increasing acceptance and building tolerance. She also believes that the engagements will encourage the children to enhance other skills such as verbal and nonverbal communications, working with peers, making decisions and managing responsibilities.
The grant will conclude with three inclusive performances at the Puttenahalli Lake where all the children and members of the community will participate. Gitanjali hopes to sustain the initiative post the grant period by continually collaborating with local organizations such as PNLIT in keeping the children and youth of the area interested in the environment through arts based awareness programs.
This grant was made possible with support from Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore.