As a Senior Manager, I have had the opportunity to work with children from diverse backgrounds. Having been associated with NalandaWay Foundation for nine years, I have had the privilege of observing and conducting numerous art sessions. Art is a powerful tool for engaging children in a mindful and creative way. Unlike other sessions, art allows children to fully immerse themselves in the present moment, letting their imaginations run wild as they explore different mediums and techniques.

Children often find joy in the process of creating something unique and personal, using their senses and motor skills to bring their ideas to life. This sense of ownership and accomplishment can boost their confidence and self-esteem, encouraging them to continue to explore their creative side. Additionally, art sessions can help children develop their problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence as they navigate the challenges and successes of their artistic endeavours.

Over the years, I have come to realise that these children, regardless of their circumstances, possess immense potential and talent. They have taught me valuable life lessons, including resilience, courage, and the importance of determination. One such child that left a profound impact on me was a student studying in Standard 5 who I met recently.

This child, despite his young age, has already faced numerous challenges. He helps his mother in their food cart by cutting onions until late in the night. After working for hours, he returns home to study. Despite his difficult circumstances, he remains steadfast in his pursuit of success. He harbours a dream of becoming an IAS officer someday, and he is determined to make it a reality.

As the child shared his story with us during one of our Art in Education sessions, he also participated in a theatre activity where he enacted cutting onions in his mother’s shop. It was a powerful moment that brought his story to life, and it highlighted the resilience and determination that he possessed at such a young age. Through his acting, he was able to convey the hard work and dedication that he put into helping his mother, while also showing us his dreams of becoming an IAS officer. One of the things that gives this child joy and made him fearless was our art sessions. These sessions provided him with a platform to play with his friends and express himself creatively. For a brief moment, he could forget his worries and immerse himself in the joy of creating something beautiful. It was a reminder that children have the capacity to take on significant responsibilities, even in difficult circumstances, and that they can find creative ways to express themselves and make their dreams a reality. 

This experience reinforced my belief in the transformative power of art. Art has the ability to heal, inspire, and empower. It can provide a safe space for self-expression, promote social and emotional well-being, and foster creativity and innovation. Art can help children build confidence, overcome adversity, and develop a sense of identity and purpose.

The story of this determined child serves as a reminder of the resilience and courage that children possess. Despite facing tremendous challenges, he remained focused on his goals and found joy in simple things like art sessions. As adults, it is our responsibility to provide children with the tools and resources they need to thrive, including access to art education. By doing so, we can empower them to reach their full potential and create a better future for themselves and their communities.

Written by Vidhya Thirunavukkarasu, Senior Manager – Projects. She has extensive experience overseeing various projects in the expressive arts vertical. Her exceptional leadership skills and ability to inspire her team to reach their objectives have earned her a reputation for excellence. Vidhya holds a Master’s Degree in Development Management from the Madras School of Social Work. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Vidhya enjoys doodling and creating mandala art.