Support 'Anubhuti'- Inculcating Lifeskills among girls through Kathak! | Milaap
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    Annu Gupta
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    Annu Gupta

    from New Delhi, Delhi

Anubhuti : An initiative to inculcate Life skills among under-served girls of remote rural/tribal communities and in urban-slums using Kathak Dance (Indian Classical Dance Form) as a medium.

Namaskar!

I am Annu Gupta, an avid Kathak Performer from New Delhi. I am exploring and practising the beautiful art form Kathak from past 10 years under the guidance of my guru. I have been teaching the dance form from past 8 years. In the beginning of my career, for the first five years, I had served as a commercial trainer to pass on the art of Kathak to the people of Delhi. Eventually, with rare opportunities coming my way, I found myself conducting workshops for under-served girls belonging to socially-ignored communities of Bihar and Himachal Pradesh. The experience of working with these girls was life-changing for me, which ended up making me more grateful and humble for the skills and opportunities that I have been blessed with.

Last year in 2018, I started an initiative "Anubhūti" with the aim to dedicate my full time to inculcate basic life-skills (such as confidence, leadership, team work, creativity etc.) among under-served girls in remote rural communities and in urban slums using Kathak Dance as a medium while working in collaboration with various organizations already present on the field. In the journey, I travelled to 7 different places of the country including Dehradun , Assam , Chhattisgarh , Madhya Pradesh , Haryana, Ahmedabad and Himachal Pradesh while sharing my gift of dance with 270 kids (mostly girls). It was so heartwarming and encouraging for me to see kids facing their fears, speaking confidently in front of a large audience and so on (Please explore our ANNUAL NEWSLETTER here).


Tibetan girls from Bir, Himachal Pradesh
After this soul-stirring journey of last few years working with girls who are full of dreams but with little opportunities, this year, I am again motivated to share love and happiness among those girls through dance where they won’t only learn a skill but would be able to experience the changes in their personality.

My intention is to spend about 15 days each month, organising workshops that use Kathak as a medium to boost confidence levels, and life-skills, of these girls so that they can get a chance to prepare themselves better for life. Throughout next one year, starting from May 2019 till April 2020, I intend to organise about 11 such workshops while collaborating with organisations (mostly NGOs) working in villages or slums across the country, thereby impacting a total of 330 girls in the whole process (11 workshops a year. 2 batches per workshop. 15 participants per batch. 2 hours per day per batch).



Coming to finances, I completely understand that neither the girls that I wish to work with nor the organisations that I intend to collaborate with would be able to support my entire travel, accommodation and facilitation charges. Yet, moving ahead with this understanding, I have decided to take a leap of faith, trusting that the universe shall support me in my pursuit with its invisible hands. My launching of this fundraiser and letting the world know of my intentions is the first step towards fulfilling my purpose. 

In this fundraiser, you shall not only find glimpses of my previous work, in the form of photographs or videos, but you shall also get to know about the organisations that I have already collaborated with for the workshops for next year. As I am still in the middle of finalising collaborations, you can choose to support me in two ways- one, by contributing your share of love in the form of financial contribution for this initiative, and two, by connecting me with appropriate organisations that may be interested to invite me over to conduct this workshop for their kids (anywhere through the country, in villages or in slums).


In the end, I only wish to add that no amount is small in front of the cause that will be served through your contribution, and it will make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of girls who shall get a chance to inculcate the essential life-skills, which will enable them to lead their lives with confidence and dignity thereby giving them equal opportunities to prove their acumen in a patriarchal society.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How do you select the organisations for collaboration?
    I have following selection criteria:
    The organisation should have a track record of working with under-served girls/kids in its region.
   - The organisation should have a proper accommodation facility for conducting the workshop.
   - The organisation should have a good reputation with its local community from where the girls would be coming.

2. Is this initiative only for girls, what if boys also wish to learn Kathak?
    Sure. I always open the workshops for boys and at times they do participate. But I am mostly talking about girls as they have usually been high in numbers during my previous workshops.

3. What is the age criterion for your workshop participants?
    I usually work with girls/kids of 12-18 years of age.

4. How does a session of your workshop look like?
    A two hour long session for 15 participants consists of Yoga, Meditation and Kathak Dance. The training is imparted in its pure form while keeping the classicalism of Kathak Dance intact.


5. How will you use the raised amount through this fundraiser?
    This fundraiser asks for support to cover costs related to workshop travel, required resources such as Ghunghroos, facilitation charges and stage performance charges [Rs 25,000 per workshop. 11 workshops in a year]. My living cost during the workshops (Accommodation + Food) shall be taken care of by the invitee organisations.

6. What if you are not able to raise the required amount?
    I will still continue with this initiative, with a hope that the Universe shall support me as I continue serving.

7. How do you assess the impact of your workshops?
    I make it compulsory for workshop participants to deliver a stage performance on 15th day of the workshop to a larger audience that includes their parents and local community members. This stage performance not only helps me to evaluate myself but it also helps the girls to improve their event management skills as they themselves organise this whole event.

8. Is there any possibility for your well-wishers to join your workshop/stage performance?
    I am not sure about the workshop, as I wish to keep all the spaces for community girls. However, I would definitely love to have my well-wishers as an audience for girls’ stage performance.


9. How does a stage performance at the end of your workshop look like?
   The stage performance starts with a live Kathak performance given by workshop participants followed by a performance that I give so as to deepen audience’s understanding of Kathak further. In the end, the workshop participants share about their workshop experience, the organisation-in-collaboration shares about its experience of hosting the workshop, audience shares about its experience of witnessing the performances, and I share about my experience of working with girls. The participants also receive certificates for their participation in the entire workshop. It is usually a two hour long event that is mostly organised by the girls themselves.  

10. How will you communicate about the progress of your workshops?
      I will document all my workshops and share about the on-goings, photographs and videos with my well-wishers through my Facebook Page , Blog and through my Website. I will also produce two formal newsletters by October 2019 and April 2020 respectively.

11. How can I be sure that you are really going to conduct these workshops?
     That’s what the official letters of collaboration on this fundraiser are for. In addition to these letters, I can also provide contact details of the on-field organisations (kindly request through a message on my facebook page). One can simply call them and get to know about the workshops that I have already conducted or I intend to conduct at their place.


More about ‘Anubhūti’ :

'Anubhūti', which means to experience something in an intense way, is the name of this initiative in which I will conduct 11 workshops of the duration of 15 days each with under-served girls of remote rural communities or urban slum so as to improve their life-skills such as Self-confidence, Creativity, Imagination, Leadership, Team work etc. by using Kathak as a medium.

I have mostly seen that kids especially girls living in remote rural communities of India don’t get much opportunities so as to hone their confidence or speak freely about themselves. ‘Anubhūti’ gives those kids an exposure to learn, explore and experience Indian Classical Dance Kathak, in its pure form, which helps to plant a seed of Indian Dances in upcoming generation also creating exposure among those girls so that they can expand their horizons and build their career as per their inner calling.




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