In more ways than one, our society tries to toughen us up when it comes to life’s challenges. When you are faced with difficult times, you are asked not to whine, but rather to fight with all your might, silently. But what this popular opinion fails to recognize, is the power of voice. For many people who have overcome the worst hands that life dealt them, the first step was in finding their voice again and the power that lies with it. By tapping into this, we find the freedom to express what we want, what we need and most of all, what we deserve.
Slam Out Loud is a Delhi based not for profit that believes in the empowering nature of voice. Working with children from disadvantaged communities, they use the medium of performance and visual arts to help them find their voice. The organization believes that the freedom to express one’s needs, hopes and dreams should not be limited to the privileged class.
Founded by Jigyasa Labroo and Gaurav Singh in 2014, Slam Out has worked with over 6500 children, 100 artists and is reaching out to about 50,000 children across 950 villages in UP, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. The co-founders incidentally met when they were both working with Teach For India fellowship and realized that education in disadvantaged settings is often driven only academic results and to ensure employment. But by using the arts as a teaching tool, children can be equipped with leadership and other life skills that will help them pave their way and become change-makers themselves.
The organization has two main programs - the Jijivisha Fellowship and Voice for All. The fellowship brings professional artists to learning spaces and with the help of mediums like poetry, storytelling, theatre, and visual arts helps children to build relevant social and economic life skills. In the time since its inception, the fellowship has worked with 68 fellows, 100 artist volunteers, and 38 communities across the nation.
Slam Out Loud and Pratham Education Foundation work together on the Voice Project. It uses the transformational power of creative arts to help children in rural India find their ways of joy, change, and learning. The project works with artists to create programs that help children in government or budget private schools to solve the challenges that they face in their locality. The artists work with the children through several sessions and then finally do a showcase for the community at large. They have worked with 950 villages and 50,000 children so far with this project.
Some of the children who have worked with Slam Out Loud took boldly to the stage at the Spoken Fest , an international spoken word festival in Mumbai and delivered their poignant poetry on life, equality, education, change, growth and all the other realities of their lives. Using arts as an effective tool to create social change, the founders hope to train children from disadvantaged communities in using their voice to address the issues that their community faces and to create a more inclusive society, and thereby creating a bigger change in the world.
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