Slam Out Loud gives ‘Wings to Dreams’
Slam Out Loud (Instagram page) bringing art education to the Indian Classrooms
“I was teaching in a low-income community when I came face to face with questions of power and privilege. Having lived a childhood filled with art and opportunities for creative expression, seeing the children I was teaching, not having spaces to channelize their creativity made me bring my own classroom of art, Slam Out Loud,” says Jigyasa, founder and CEO at Slam out Loud. From 2014 to 2016, Jigyasa worked as a teacher for India fellow where she was providing holistic-education to 50 girls from a challenging community in Delhi. These girls were subjected to violence and harassment at home. Seeing the plight of these girls made her acknowledge the problems in the way education is being delivered in India, and hence, she decided to come up with Slam Out Loud.
Slam Out Loud
Slam Out Loud’s basic idea is to democratize the agency to express oneself, especially for children. It is an organisation that believes in the fact that the power of being able to express ourselves should not be restricted to the privileged section only. Essentially, it aims at empowering voices and artistic expressions of children so that they not only address the issues of their families and community and act as change-makers to the World
“Our mission is to really revolutionize how education, especially art education happens in Indian Classrooms, especially considering the children who need it the most, the children from the disadvantaged communities. My co-teacher in the classroom, Gaurav (Cofounder of SOL) and I planned to target children who are in government and public schools with an idea of ensuring that every child gets a space to discover their own self and come out as a better person,” says Jigyasa explaining what is the mission of Slam Out Loud.
Children at Slam Out Loud use art forms like writing, poetry, storytelling, drawing, theatre, and visual arts to help children from disadvantaged communities to bloom and channelize their voice. The organisation observed that 444 million children in India are not empowered to break the cycles of negative outcomes because of the lack of relevant and engaging opportunities that empower them with agency and voice.
India ranks 99th in the Global Creativity Index of 139 nations which itself suggests that there is a lot to do when it comes to exposing children to creative means of learning. SOL even includes professional artists to help children to build socio-emotional learning and leadership skills.
SOL during the pandemic
SOL is working with around 50,000 children in 4 states, and have recently started text-based platforms to reach out to more children and give them access to arts. “During the pandemic, what we tried is how we can leverage the power of art and in low tech platforms to reach children who usually won’t have access to art-based learning. Considering the barriers to it, either language or means to be a part of high tech video conferencing platforms because of the digital divide in our country, we have launched something called ARTS FOR ALL Program to reach the most disadvantaged children. Here, we were reaching out through WhatsApp only and within the first two weeks, we got signups from 23 states in India and 18 other Countries which is really overwhelming. Where we have received responses on exploring how to use mediums like radio, IVRS, TV to bring art-based learning to more and more children.” says Jigyasa, when asked about how is the organisation functioning during COVID.
What appears challenging and disappointing to her is the fact that for children to find spaces for the expression of art are not a priority and not looked at as something must-have for every child. And, this very fact makes the advocacy of art, saying, “this is important”, “art is important becomes more important and relevant. “A system where art-based learning or life skills learning or social-emotional is not prioritised and normalized, in that system, letting people understand that every child needs to have access to it becomes challenging,” says Jigyasa explaining the main challenge they are facing in this whole journey.
India being a place with great demographic differences, SOL tries to make art as an expression of children. It lets people who are experts/ have knowledge of art-based learning to get involved through programs like Jijivisha Fellowship and the Voice Project. We, at One World News support and appreciate Jigyasa and the whole SOL team form their initiative.
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