Live to Dream

by Aparna Komarla

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About the project :

I am Aparna Komarla; I initiated Live to Dream 2 years ago. The initiative is based in Bangalore, India. Here is my story telling you why I decided to spearhead this initiative. 
It was 11 years ago when I took my first steps in the field of art. I evolved into a keen artist thirsty to create magic on paper. I took my first art class in grade 7 and continued erratically until grade 10. It was early 2014 when I discovered a prominent imbalance in the system adopted to teach children art. I observed that from the initial stages of learning, children are encouraged to replicate artwork. There is little emphasis on creating new and innovative pieces. I found the balance between empowering creativity and developing skills absent. 
I observed that children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have access to opportunities to learn the art or explore their interest in it. Economical privileges seemed to play a significant role in deciding a child's learning platforms.

These are the two staggering issues Live to Dream aims to resolve. 

The cause is important to me because it is grounded in 2 principles - individuality and equality. They create the foundation for a strong and successful society. 

Through art books and art workshops, we are working to incorporate these principles in mainstream education. 
Art books - They have been designed to ensure that the presence of a teacher at all times when a child is learning from the book is not necessary. It is a 40 paged book that begins with the basics of drawing. It teaches - how to hold a pencil while drawing and writing, techniques for pencil sketching, techniques for pencil shading, and finally how to create a 3-D image of any object on paper. Through this process, we also encourage children to be as creative as they can and want to be. 
We build the skills of a student by asking them to practice and perfect drawing/shading techniques. We build the creative thinking of students for example, by asking them to write a short story and depict it through a series of drawings. 

Art workshops - A team of volunteers with a background in art, work with children in government schools and shelter homes in the ratio of one teacher : five students. 
We teach them techniques from the art book and conduct craft sessions. 

The project is an asset to the world and because it makes a long lasting change in the minds of children. For many children, art is therapeutic and helps them express emotions better. 

“In an art workshop with a few destitute boys, one child in my group seemed slightly disconnected. We were making pencil holders out of paper and his was nowhere near completion. I asked him what he wanted to do with the structure given to him. He subtly hinted at his idea – "Staircase, door, windows", he said, pointing at their positions on the cylinder we had made from paper. I was excited to hear his idea, which was quite creative. I said, "You want to make a house with it!" He hesitated and seemed unsure. He dismissed his idea as a mistake. While I thought to myself what a great idea that was, I saw him gather material to make what all the other kids were making. He wasn’t going to pursue his idea. I observed this and asked him to stop. I asked him why he was doing that. I said, "You want to make the pencil stand look like a house, so why aren’t you?" It took a while for me to talk him into making his idea come alive. I told him that he didn’t have to do what the other kids were doing and that it was okay to be stand out. And when he agreed, he enthusiastically gathered all the material and we made the house. Everyone at the shelter home was amazed. His smile and contentment that shone through left an indelible mark on me ever since. "  - Aparna Komarla 

Impact thus far
Workshops conducted:
•    NELE – a home for destitute girls; Worked with 30 orphaned girls for a period of 3 days. (May 2014) 
•    Desire Society – a home for HIV-AIDS affected children. Worked with 35 children diagnosed with HIV, majority of them are children of sex workers. (June 2014)
•    Vishwas – worked with 25 children orphaned at a young age. (August 2014)
•    Child Fund Association – a home for emotionally distressed girls; Worked with over 20 girls from emotionally distressing backgrounds. (October 2014)
•    Need Base India – home for urban deprived children; Worked with 15 boys in a government school. (December 2014)

•    Asha Foundation – worked with children with autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD (April 2015) 

•    Premanjali Educational Trust – worked with destitute boys (August 2015) 

Child Fund Association (June 3rd, 2016 - July 30th, 2016) - We are currently conducting a 16 classes course in Child Fund Association. The children have learned - drawing and shading with pencils, shading with colored pencils, and jewelry making (earrings). They participated in creative and critical thinking activities - they designed their own sarees/chudidhars, created their own mehndi designs, wrote a short story centered around one of many pictures they were shown. 



Risks and Challenges :

Our big challenges include -

  • A general conception that deems art to be a recreational activity alone with no other value. 
  • The idea that enhancing and building creative and critical thinking is unnecessary. 

Other Ways You Can Help :

Contribution is  not always  necessary in monetary terms.  We do prefer it in order to achieve the campaign's target.  However, you can also support us by promoting our campaign on social media, and by spreading a word around and motivating your friends and family to contribute to our campaign.


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