Healing through the arts

In February I had a chance to visit Nandhivaram, Panchayat Union Primary School, Kancheepuram.  NalandaWay organized volunteer educators, therapists and social workers to go to this school to provide a regular therapeutic program using movement and visual arts.  This school is in rural Tamil Nadu, about 2 hours south west of Chennai.  This area was heavily effected by the monsoon floods from December 2015.  Students used multiple forms of art for expression; including storytelling, dance/movement, song, and visual arts. It was one of the best experiences of my life.  Although these kids had witnessed a lot of tragedy and hardship the school was clearly a respected structure within the community and students could feel safe enough to enjoy being children once again.  The pictures below share what the children were involved in on the day I observed.  I found the kids to be friendly, fun, happy, and introspective.  These kids loved the arts workshop and it was written all over their faces.

Almost like a game of head, shoulders, knees and toes.
A group of primary students waiting to get started.
After movement, students go to visual arts where they can draw in response to their movement activities.
A smiley group.  All of these students wanted to take lots and lots of pictures.
Upper primary school kids getting to work in art class.
Taking a moment for the camera.
The combination of movement and art are a great combination for these kids.  All of them seemed to enjoy the whole experience and really value the time they had in the art classes.
A walk around the school building.
Primary group and movement.
A upper elementary student sharing her work with me.  During the movement activity, the therapists told a story about animals and how they helped each other cross the river on the backs of turtles.


Looking at the building you can see how far the water may have come up on the side.


At the end of the upper elementary art class students made small bracelets and exchanged them with someone else.
The room got quiet as they exchanged bracelets with other, students really showed how much they cared for each other with this small sentiment.




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