Educating the under-privileged

Last week, I was privileged to visit the Kuttu Kalai Kudam or Centre of Performing Arts in Punjarasantankal Village, eight kilometers from Kanchipurum town in the southernmost Indian State of Tamil Nadu.

This small school was founded in 1990 by P. Rajagopal and his Dutch wife, Dr. Hanne M. de Bruin. It is an inspirational place to visit.  It is a not-for-profit organization which relies entirely on donations, grants and fund-raising for its existence.

Since its foundation, the school has grown and now takes about 70 children between the ages of 5 and 20. All these children come from under-privileged backgrounds, many from very difficult backgrounds to the extent that they need counseling for support.  Whilst the school offers a basic education in all subjects, it specializes in the performing arts and believes in the power of art, music, dance and drama to transform the lives of these young people giving them a ‘voice’ and the confidence to use this voice to express themselves and develop their potential.

Apart from transforming the lives of their students, some other key aims of the school are to:

  • raise the status of Kattaikkuttu – the theatre of the common people in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu, South India
  • break the all male tradition of this art form and open the way for girls and women to have a future in the theatre
  • break the vicious circle of chronic poverty and social and cultural disempowerment through quality artistic training and education

The school’s website provides comprehensive information about development through publication of their annual reports and also has a Facebook site

As well as relying on donations for its existence, the school also relies on volunteers. Currently the school needs volunteer English teachers (who may be trainee teachers) and Teacher Trainers. All volunteers need to commit to spending 6 months at the school – to ensure consistency and stability for the children.

Please forward this post to anyone who you think might be interested in working in this Indian School for 6 months, or who might be willing to provide a donation. The school needs a 1000 euros per year to provide an education for each child.  For further information the email address is info@kattaikkuttu.org

For photos see – http://www.flickr.com/photos/53375223@N00/sets/72157628915317401/

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