Jewellery maker Ria Joseph trains poor kids in art and craft
The jewellery designer and manufacturer uses her creative knowledge to teach art and craft to slum kids living in Bengaluru's Cantonment area.
"The children and I assemble wherever we find a good empty spot like a park, football ground or a free classroom in NGO-run schools in the area. I take art and craft material and teach activities like collage, mask-making or clay modelling. Aged between 2 and 12 years,these kids have never seen art material. This is a great way to excite their imagination," says Joseph, who was introduced to these kids by a friend when she moved to Bengaluru a few years ago from Mumbai.
Joseph teaches children who live in the slum pockets near Cox Town, Cook Town, Frazer Town, behind Banaswadi and near Bangalore East Station. "Whenever the kids are free, I get a call from an elder in the area."
She has a few success cases too. "One of our students was excellent in stitching. Her mother died at childbirth. My friend and I trained her. Today she works at the H&M factory in Delhi."
Being a yoga practitioner, Joseph also gets the children to practice the fitness form for an hour every fortnight. "These kids are exposed to violence and aggressive behavior. I teach them basic stretches and breathing exercises which relaxes their mind. It is important to channelise their unused energy,' observes the young mother.
Dr Usha Abraham, member of the community development wing at the YWCA of Bengaluru City, has closely watched Joseph's philanthropic side for ten years. "Commitment is the most important skill required for a good volunteer. Ria displays a high level of commitment to her work. She makes learning fun for the children and this helps in drawing out their creativity…and eventually develop their own creative skill set," says Dr Abraham.
To which Joseph adds, "I want to give these kids a slice of life we lead. They don't even know that concepts like art and yoga even exist."
It can be challenging though, she notes. "Language barrier makes teaching difficult. Kids can be rough too. But that's their way of showing affection. They may be less fortunate. But they are just like one of us," ends Joseph.