Dear Jijivisha Fellows,
Every brushstroke, every melody, and every dance step has the power to break down barriers and bridge communities.
Today, as I sit down to write this note for you, I think about Rubiya, Omkar, Jagtarni, Soni, Sahana, Digamber, and so many others from my Teach for India classroom, back from when I was a fellow in 2019. I vividly recall the expressions on their faces as I announced my plans for the day to make art or learn a dance routine or write new stories. I still remember the joy, curiosity and wide-eyed wonder with which they looked at me.
These faces fueled my determination to show up prepared in class everyday. They inspired me to make learning contextual, relevant, and applicable to their daily lives. It pushed me to think about how I could use my time with the children to prepare them for the world they were about to enter.
After all, they had entrusted me with their precious curiosity and that spurred me to do better.
And this is the journey that you, my dear fellows, will be taking this year. Welcome to the Jijivisha Fellowship! Welcome to the world of art education in India! I am thrilled to have you on board and witness your journey as you embark on a path that combines creative expression and socio-emotional learning (this is a term that will become second nature to you!).
As Jijivisha fellows, you possess a unique set of skills that go beyond traditional teaching methods. You are artists, storytellers, poets, actors, musicians, dancers, and advocates, equipped with the ability to communicate with the soul of a child through the universal language of art.
Your presence in the lives of these young minds will be transformative, providing them a safe space for curiosity, self-expression and personal growth. Your classroom will be a sanctuary where the constraints of traditional education fade away, making room for imagination, empathy, and emotional well-being.
Remember, every brushstroke, every melody, and every dance step has the power to break down barriers and build bridges between communities. Your role extends beyond the art itself; you are the catalyst that empowers children to find their voices and share their stories.
You will witness, firsthand, the incredible resilience and creativity that resides within each young artist, and it will inspire you in ways you never thought possible.
You’ll face many challenges throughout your journey, but always remember that growth often emerges from those very obstacles. Embrace the uncertainties and trust in your abilities. Seek support from your fellow fellows, as they share your passion and understand the complex nature of your work.
Lean on one another, learn from one another and celebrate one another’s victories, for it is through collaboration and community that we can create lasting change.
As you step into this movement, be open to the diverse narratives that you will encounter within your classrooms and communities. Each narrative carries with it a unique point of view, weaving a tapestry of voices that shape our nation’s identity. Embrace this movement with a spirit of adventure, curiosity, and an unwavering belief in the power of art.
Your dedication and passion will not only touch the lives of the children you work with but also leave an indelible mark on the future of arts education in India.
The Jijivisha Fellowship is a labour of love from all the SOLmates, who, in some way or the other contributed to its development and evolution over the years. It’s the result of the collective efforts of people who poured their hearts into creating a fellowship journey that keeps up with the evolving needs of our children, their classrooms and communities.
Finally, as we draw closer to the moment when you enter a classroom for the first time, I understand that you may be filled with a mix of excitement and nervousness. Let me assure you that you are not alone in this adventure! We are a community of passionate individuals who believe in the power of the arts to guide explorations, inspire young minds, and ignite change.
Together, we will unlock the power of the arts to enable every individual to find their voice.
Once again, welcome to this incredible journey. Together, let us pave the way for a future where the arts become an integral part of learning, growth, and education in India!