Having conducted a number of programs/ events as the Child Rights Leader (CRL) for Jesus and Mary college, 2016-2017, Devika Chopra’s journey is a tale of dedication and commitment towards bringing a change in the lives of underprivileged children. As the CRL for Child Rights and You (CRY), Devika undertook a wide array of events with a simple desire of adding a little something to the lives of those who were a part of the programme. From holding ‘Book Collection Drive’, setting up a bake sale, to organising a plethora of after-school workshops such as clock making, origami and animal sensitization sessions, the Child Rights Leadership Program (CRLP) under Devika’s leadership has gone a step beyond spreading awareness amongst college students. As a member of the JMC Education Program (an after-school tuition program for underprivileged children), Devika and her team were able to establish an association between the two programs with the sole aim of providing the few means that are required to foster creativity amongst children, in turn making the college a safe space where children could express themselves freely.
“Project Jyoti”, a ray of hope and a door to endless possibilities for underprivileged kids is an initiative envisioned by Devika. For her, it has been a journey of reinforcing the very idea of giving children space and time to be creative as she holds the firm belief that all children have the ability to innovate. With the support of the JMC Education Program, she strives to polish the creative skills of underprivileged children.
The execution of the program is simple as it involves conducting arts, theatre and other extracurricular workshops for children within the college campus. Devika and her team meet the children post their school hours and hold a variety of workshops every fortnight. The team focusses on making these workshops meaningful by combining arts with themes of environmental sustainability, animal sensitization etc.
The inspiration behind “Project Jyoti” is an interesting story that goes back to the summer of 2015 when Devika was an intern with CRY. Sitting at a girls home in Delhi, never did Devika imagine that she would be inspired by talent which technically came all the way from the North-east. Devika never actually got the opportunity to meet Jyoti but feels she met a part of her through the many drawing sheets she found while cleaning the office. As an artist herself, Devika was completely taken aback by Jyoti’s work.
Such is the power of art. Despite never having met Jyoti, Devika felt a strong connection with her work. Devika tells us it was her bold use of colours that was most striking, for who would think blue and orange flowers would turn out to be this pretty. While one could go on dissecting Jyoti’s work from a creative perspective, it’s the simplicity and purity of it that made it so beautiful. Each and every drawing was unique and inspiring.
Jyoti’s imagination, like all children, knew no boundaries. At the home, Jyoti found herself in a place that gave her the few means that were necessary for her to put this imagination on paper, and the result is in front of us- work that is absolutely priceless and touches a chord deep within. This meeting with Jyoti’s artwork is the inspiration behind the project. By understanding the importance of creativity in the lives of children, how it shapes their intellectual abilities and allows self-expression, Devika believes we can truly transcend the boundaries placed by the current education system. But more importantly, by launching this project on her campus, Devika hopes to give each and every child an opportunity to explore their creative sides.
Signing off, Devika says, “The word ‘jyoti’ literally translates into light, and Jyoti truly lived up to her name, creating artwork which I sincerely hope will inspire each and every person who has the fortune of coming across it.”
*The child’s name has been changed to Jyoti for confidentiality purposes.
Priyal Mahtta- firstname.lastname@example.org