Isai Ma(i)yam means ‘Centre of music’. Through music, singing, dancing, and (illustrative) art we help our children regain fun in their lives and increase their self-esteem and self-confidence. Being busy in a creative way helps the children to express themselves in a better way and stimulates unity. Music and dance are a fine way of getting positive energy and forget problems or bad memories for a while.
Gayatri Art School
For this reason the children go to the village Alankupam, near Auroville, every weekend and during holidays. Here we also teach music, singing and dancing on a weekly basis to about seventy children from the villages in the vicinity. The children play Carnatic (traditional Indian music) on instruments applied for this style. Many of our girls learn Nautch Barata Natyam, a traditional dance in India.
Isai Ma(i)yam Music Band
In May 2009 the Isai Ma(i)yam Music Band was founded. All musicians are youngsters from our community of villages in the vicinity. They receive our financial support for getting a music or dance education. The band often plays at (wedding) ceremonies and parties, together with our dancers. With this they earn their own income. Furthermore they participate in music lessons for a group four times a week.
When the youngsters have finished school, we offer the opportunity of a part-time job as music, dance, singing or homework teacher at our project. The other half of their time they must create other jobs.
The youngsters who don’t choose for this option, are being assisted by looking for continued education, work and housing. If necessary, we can also support financially by way of a scholarship.
Five times a week a group of more than twenty mentally and/or physically disabled children and young adults come to Isai Ma(i)yam. In the village Trichitambalam (between Pondicherry and Auroville) we have modified a former clinic into a day care: Ananda Day Care.
Two young adults who grew up in our children’s home and completed the music education, are the daily supervisors and take care of the daily program with music and creative workshops. They are supported by two Indian social security women who have the required experience.
The handicapped children do physiotherapeutic exercises, yoga, dance, educational games, reading and writing exercises, if possible, and they get a warm meal. They are being picked up in the morning and brought back home in the afternoon by our bus, that has been especially modified to be able to transport these children.
The children have a safe home. They go to school and have music, singing and dancing lessons.