Art to Connect initiative brings together disabled & non-disabled kids across India
For the first time in India over 300 disabled children will showcase their skills in painting, music and dance in partnership with over six lakh children from across India sensitised about Sustainable Development Goal 10 which is that of reducing inequalities. The Art to Connect Festival will close with an awards function in Chennai in February this year.
Art To Connect is a first of its kind festival that gives disabled children the opportunity to display their skills and sensitise non-disabled children about inclusion. The festival brings together over six lakh non-disabled children from different Indian cities and 300 disabled children.
Unique fest for disabled & non-disabled kids
From painting, music and dance, Art To Connect offers disabled children the opportunity to showcase their skills across multiple platforms. The initiative is the brainchild of education consultant Dr Nirmala Krishnan, who is the founder of the Link The Dots, which aims to connect different sections of society.
This is a competition in which children from regular schools participate with a special child in four categories of competition. We are doing this to create a society where disabled and non-disabled children can be more empathetic towards each other. They can co-create a painting, or a piece of music or a dance performance that can be recorded. In this process of working together they will grow up to be individuals who will have respect for each other’s talents. – Dr Nirmala Krishnan, Founder, Art To Connect Festival
The six lakh non-disabled children are from schools across India as well as the United States, Malaysia and Dubai. Vivaan, a student of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai, is thrilled to partner with Saloni, who is blind. “I take this as an opportunity to showcase my buddy’s talent to the world”. Painting pals Owais and Manthan, who has cerebral palsy, are excited to be together. “I take this opportunity to make my buddy feel like an asset of society”, says Owais, a student of Manipal School, Mangalore.
The project will culminate into an awards function at Kalakshetra in Chennai in February 2020.
Celebrities champion cause of inclusion
Well-known film star Prakash Raj and squash star Dipika Pallikal Karthik are among the brand ambassadors of Art To Connect.
“Every child is born with a lot of curiosity and energy in them and receptive abilities and we are not able to understand the power and magic of their perceptions and expressions”, says Prakash. We need to sensitise society and it is important for us to co-exist and share and search through one another”. Dipika says her association with schools for disabled kids has convinced her of the power of such initiatives. “I have believed in the power of compassion, understanding and empathy as the foremost to win each day in life”.
Many disabled achievers have expressed support for Art To Connect. They include Karishma Kannan, a well-known artist with Down syndrome, motivational speaker Danesh Kanagaraj who is a wheelchair user and Jijo, a drummer and illustrator with Down syndrome.
“These children are going to be future policymakers for India so we are starting a revolution”, adds Nirmala, who says she has received an enthusiastic response from different states including Puducherry. Her aim is to make sure that every child in the world has the opportunity to interact with a disabled child.
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