Joanne at Gayatri Art School and Gaya House
Joanne, who assisted with our project for ten days, has opened a playroom. The children adore it and keep on asking to play there. Twister, Mikado, puzzles, coloring and kapla are favorite!
During the holidays the children love to be outside and chill on the beach. It is only a quarter hour drive to the beach from the Gayatri Art School. Not everyone can swim, so some children stay on the beach or in the surf, but even then the sea is nice and cool. For safety reasons they are always accompanied by a supervisor.
The left girl is Manimegalai, she lives with us. The right girl is from a village in the neighborhood and goes to our dancing classes every weekend. The girls like each other’s company and share a passion for dancing. When the music band is performing, often a dancing group goes along to dance in between acts. The girls think it’s great to dance for public and always look forward to their performances.
During the week our children live in the city, which is convenient because the school is around the corner, so they can walk to school. However, there aren’t many trees in the city to climb in. Every weekend the children go to the Gayatri Art School in the countryside. Here there is lots of space to play outside and they really do this every weekend.
In March 2014 a great slide was made for our children from old iron. Not only the children living with us, but also the children from the village who come for the music and dancing lessons enjoy playing on this new play device.
This roundabout was made at the same time as the slide. The children have helped dig a deep hole in which the roundabout could stand. As you can see from the fun they are having, they really thought it worthwhile.
The swings were built next to the slide and the roundabout. These were also made by hand from old materials. The work was done very professionally, so the swings are very sturdy. Between the dancing and music lessons a line forms around the swings, because everyone loves to swing.
Lastly two skips were made. In the background the swings can be seen. At this moment the girls are having a break during their dancing class.
All the children attend music or dancing classes in the weekend. We have a lot of instruments (guitar, flute, keyboard, violin, tabla, drumpad, drum and mridangan) and the children can make their own choice which one they would prefer to play. Here Hari is being taught on the drumpad, Mani is sitting beside him practicing on the keyboard. She is being taught by Alice, who used to live in the children’s home himself. Now he is studying in Chennai, but comes to the Gayatri Art School every weekend to teach music to the children.
There are two dance teachers. In this photo you can see Sathya’s group practicing. The children are learning the Bharatanatyum dance, a classical type of dance specific to Tamil Nadu. This dance form originated more than 2000 years ago and was strongly connected to Hinduism.
The second dance teacher is Anbu. Anbu lives with her husband and daughter in the vicinity of the Gayatri Art School. She once lived with us, and afterwards she did a dance education and now works as a teacher. In the weekend she teaches at the Gayatri Art School, but during the week she teaches elsewhere.