RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY
The idea of red lorry yellow lorry perhaps started before we were placed in our school at Teach For India, but it really grew in the time we spent away from the classroom after the Fellowship.
Sree (Shomasree Majumdar) and I (Safdar Rahman) were two Fellows in Seelampur in the cohort of ’12 and had known each other well before. However, we collaborated on a play called ‘haroun ki dilchasp kahaani’ which we performed with kids from various schools at the end of our Fellowship. Special mention goes to Ghazal Gulati, who basically put things in place for the play. When we spent time doing our own things after the Fellowship (Sree travelled and volunteered at various places, I was working on a feature film in Bangalore), we realized we were missing what we really wanted to do – which was basically to have fun with kids. And watch them grow in a space which they owned, where they set their own rules and wrote their own script. Social inclusion was something that we both passionately believed in, and there in we formed our crux.
We are a small organization with small dreams. We look forward to doing more workshops, reaching out to more kids and letting more kids find their own voice. What they choose to do with that voice, is up to them.
We’d love to unearth a future film maker, or a Pulitzer winning author or a talented architect, but that’s not our aim. 🙂
At red lorry yellow lorry, we like to call ourselves a spark. A spark that believes that children should have a voice and like any other voice, one that needs to be nurtured, protected and allowed to flourish.
We are just starting off on two projects currently. The first, (not very imaginatively) called the Pilot Project, is a six month program where we run simultaneous workshops in high-income schools and in shelters, focusing on six different facts of the arts. These workshops are facilitated by young talented professional artists, thus also providing mentorship to students who may wish to engage with the arts at a deeper level. We then try and facilitate interactions between the two groups of students and exhibit their work collectively.
The second project is called the Film Lorry Project where we train four young adults from the shelters that we’re working with in the art of using a camera. This is a year long project divided into two halves. The first where the students study the camera and know the living daylights out of it. The second where we organize paid gigs, weddings, events for them to shoot with the support of our training team. We also hope to be able to raise enough revenue to help our students shoot a documentary film, thus giving them an opportunity to express themselves in ways unprecedented. The aim is that students are professionally skilled by the end of the year to be able to atleast find jobs at local videography stores/assist wedding photographers/work in the audio visual industry as camera assistants.
While working in the education sector, we had been noticing that school curriculum was gravely lacking. Somehow “educated” didn’t equal “knowledgeable”, “aware” or “smart”. Children were becoming mute spectators of information and machines of rote-learning. We knew that we had to start working to supplement existing school curriculum to make students more aware and more critical thinking individuals. Furthermore, seeing how disconnected curriculum was from real world developments, we realized that it became important to educate students about important things that concern their day-to-day lives, such as politics, religion and the environment, gender sensitivity, society, rights etc. Most importantly, we wanted to make coming to school and attending school more fun than it was. So we started Project Awaaz.
It was started as Teach For India Fellows’ initiative by us – Two 2013 Fellows – Tarang Tripathi and Puneet Prakash, along with Vibhor Mathur, a Hindu College graduate who has worked with various NGOs, and in collaboration with Teach for India since 2012(Project Leap). It was subsequently joined by another 2013 Fellow Pooja Pal. Currently our core team consists of Tarang Tripathi, Pooja Pal, Vibhor Mathur and two 2014 fellows, Juhi Kumari and Jatin Ahuja.
Our work is aimed at building a platform where students can explore themselves and give voice to their thoughts. We want to work towards making our students more confident, better decision makers and well informed. Through our activities, we seek to ensure that students become more participative and responsive. We train students in:
- General Awareness
- Public speaking
- Critical thinking
In our previous phase, we worked with 25 TFI classrooms in over 20 schools. The phase culminated with a showcase where over 80 children expressed their views on diverse topics in the field of politics, religion and environmental concerns. We saw students who would not interact in class get up on stage and confidently talk about issues which even most adults shy away from. The success of the showcase made us realize that even we hadn’t properly understood the magnitude of problems in the current education system, and how much more there is to student than his academic brilliance. Currently we are preparing for our second phase with TFI and MCD classes and are also starting our work with private schools.
We started Alohomora in December 2014 with the objective to help children, across income segments, realize their potential through experiential workshops, meaningful interactions and live projects with partner social organizations. We want to enable entrepreneurial mindsets like taking initiative, perseverance, inter-personal skills, creativity, resourcefulness and taking charge to turn children into problem solvers of future.
We have designed 3 different modules to impart key entrepreneurial skills.
- Children for Change – A design thinking workshop which focuses on skills of taking initiative, problem solving, understanding perspectives and project management for grades 4 to 12.
- Talk Up – An expression building workshop encompassing various forms of communication – theatre, role plays, discussions, debates, negotiations and on-stage presentations for grades 4 to 7.
- LifeSkills – A workshop to teach values and life skills to children through games and activities. Each exciting activity focuses on 1 skill and builds on the learning’ through the workshop.
Our flagship event, ‘Children for Change’ focuses on problem solving skills and citizenship by getting children to learn ‘Design Thinking Framework’ and apply their learning to a live challenge presented by a social organization. We are also designing an entrepreneurship development construct for students at-risk of dropping out of formal education system. The first edition of ‘Children for Change’ in May’15 saw participation from 3 NGOs – Raahgiri Foundation, Indus Action and Khel Khel Main and 9 top schools of NCR including The Heritage School, Pathways World School, Mothers International etc.
We, Parinita Jain and Divakar Sankhla, are Fellows of 2012 cohort. Divakar, with about 5 years of corporate experience, also supports some NGOs and is passionate about involving children in the process of societal change. Parinita, a graduate from Univ. of Michigan, is passionate about deriving learning experiences out of games and activities. We are a small and energetic team of people with a healthy mix of experience and exposure. Our facilitators have studied in renowned institutions like IIT, IIM, Univ. of Michigan and have substantial corporate experience with organizations like Citibank and PepsiCo.