Community Spaces for Us All

The Kahani Project dove into the community to celebrate one of the most fulfilling Independence Days. Two live storytelling sessions were organised in Pune on the 15th of August, 2015.

The first was a session with the students of the Door Step School (DSS) in Nigdi.

DSS creates opportunities for children of all communities to have a complete primary education. For over 25 years, the DSS has passionately promoted the right of each child to have a basic education. For a task like this, the support of the parents and the community is a pre-requisite. Getting that support, is an equally daunting task.

This Independence Day, the DSS and The Kahani Project added a twist to the tale by doing a live storytelling for the children right in the open where other members of the community could come over and join in. Eventually, the representatives of the DSS had enough members of the community around with whom they could share their message that ‘every child counts’ and that educating children would create the possibility of a better future for the country.

The children found themselves wound up in the story of Buddhoo aur Chalak, the story of two brothers who confront monsters and prove that sometimes being smart isn’t enough if you’re not brave. The children also found out that it is best to be thoughtful about what we wish for from the story of The Boulder’s Wish.

It was a morning of laughter and by the time the stories were done, a promising assortment of community members had gathered.

We, at the Kahani Project, are honoured to be working with the Door Step School whose efforts to include these oft-overlooked little ones are relentless.

The Saturday gained momentum with a workshop at the DriveChange Learning and Resource Centre (DLRC), Baner. The DLRC – brainchild of Mona and Ajay Dalmia and Pavan Iyengar – opened its doors to children of all ages (literally, children from the age of 5 to 50 participated) for two hours of story-based activities.

The session was a mix of silly games and nonsense songs, stories and story-based activities to bring attention to matters of conservation and mindful living. The participants spent time listening to the story of Buddhoo aur Chalak and an ancient, magical take on why people should tell more stories.

To reclaim their community, the participants put together their thoughts on who the urban monsters are and why the animals in Pune are running away. The children were more than happy to suggest ways in which to bring more awareness to the life around us.

What was the most intensely satisfying about this Independence Day was that there was so much meaningful time spent engaging with the community. So whether it means singing the National Anthem with complete concentration with the children of the Door Step School or hearing the entire anthem and what it means with the folks at DLRC, the experience was defined by the wonderful people around us.

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