The heroes of this story are CRY volunteers, a mixed bag of students, professionals with differing age groups and languages. They would’ve never known each other had it not were for this cause – ‘Emancipation of less privileged children’. They braved heat and fatigue to put up a series of magnificent shows in slums across Bangalore. We at ‘The Biscuit’ were lucky to have met them and seen them in action.
CRY Bangalore launched an initiative to combat school drop outs in urban slums and adjoining areas; primarily due to child labour, child marriage, and lack awareness on education system. The volunteers armed with this knowledge started visiting these children to ease the hindrances and re-enrol them in schools. Despite the tremendous effort the drive was just not enough.
And so, to make the right push, CRY decided to use a tried and tested approach, “The Street Theatre”. And, so began the valiant month-long preparation by the Volunteers to perform in the slums of Koramangala, Madiwala, Yeshwanthapur and Jeevan Bheema Nagar on the 12th and 13th of November 2011; by forming a team of 20 who had little or no experience in dramatics. The team sat through writing the scripts, sacrificing their weekends; practising with all their heart even after a hectic week’s worth of work and studies; giving up precious time with their families in the hope that at least one child might re-enrol as a result. A few of the North Indian volunteers had a bit of struggle since majority of the dialogues were in Kannada, even then they never gave up using whatever means they could in order to deliver it with precision.
On the day, fear and stage fright was barely visible in any of them, all that was visible was a deep-rooted passion towards the cause. Even while travelling to the locations the like-mindedness of these volunteers was staggering, they were no longer individuals, but a single bodied outfit, a strong unit. They performed for more than 9 hours each day. Shouting and chanting slogans for hours at stretch to gather crowds for the play, and performing a total of 11 times. After each show they would talk to the crowd and pin badges on the students who had re-enrolled as token of admiration. And they would then close each act by singing, “Hum Honge Kamiyabh”.
And it is with the same note that we summarize these volunteers who were left exhausted but undefeated in November 2011, simply because they dreamt, that as a nation – “We shall overcome”.
You have our respect. We at The Biscuit salute,
The Volunteers: Punit Shrivastava, Anjali Shivanand, Rinesh Raj, Sweta Satpathy, Adithya Nandavanam, Rashmi Shekar, Shreyas Mithare, Anusha Hegde, Apoorva Siddhi, Aishwarya Lee, Ashwini Sundara Naik, Shreoshi Dutta, Raghavendra Sajja, Zabiulla Mohammed, Arpitha Rao, Abha Thakre, Satish, Thangamma Monnappa (specialist), Rajakumari Michael (specialist) and Cyrus Sir
The CRY interns, Madwila PAG Volunteers, Koramangala PAG Volunteers, Yeshwanthapur PAG Volunteers and East PAG Volunteers.
|Author: Ajith Alex Jacob
Editor: Ankita Mishra
Photography: Alex Jacob Thangamma Monnappa
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