The Hindu: For a healthy body, mind and soul

For a healthy body, mind and soul

All about cleanliness : A message for all.


Using traditional performing arts, kids learnt some lessons on life.

2008070850080601_473411eThe banner that adorned the backstage wall was made of old newspapers stuck together on an old saree, and was outlined in ochre and maroon. The Tamil alphabet was written large at random. This was the collective work of 35 children at the workshop and by doing this they learnt the art of recycling.

Song and dance

Paintings that were done by the kids in the craft class with flowers, leaves, sand and paint were hung between two trees in the tree-studded campus of Avvai Home in Adyar. The Aseema Trust in their project “South Indian Girl Child Initiative Project” brought out the third phase “Using Traditional Performing Arts as empowering tools for vulnerable youth” with the theme “Health and Hygiene” for 2008.

During the summer vacation these children participated in the workshop that had diverse events with the same theme and what they had learned was displayed.

They began the day’s programme with a song taught by Sudha Raja with a message on cleanliness. Toilets must be built and people taught to use them properly, garbage should be dumped inside the bin and not around it, as pavements are meant for walking, they should be kept clean and free from any kind of obstacles, were some of the messages in the song. As dance is an activity that inspires a person to keep the mind as well as the body clean, the children were taught Mohiniattam by Supriya Rajan. The swaying movements were done with much concentration and the children’s enjoyment was obvious.

And to sharpen the mind the mathematical way the kids had a taste of Konnokkol by Uma Shankar Vinaykram who had the whole school and the visitors keeping time to the ancient beats. Chandra and Bama who trained the children to put up the play “Nalamdana” — the message again concentrating on hygiene. Sensitive issues like disposing used sanitary napkins, the importance of food and the confidence to make the right choices in life formed the basis of the play.

The workshop had infused in the children a zeal to keep their environment and themselves clean and healthy in all aspects but their performance that evening had inspired other young minds too as little Suganya said, “We will do all what our akkas said (as in the song and drama) because it will make us strong and make us study too!”

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