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Colors of Inclusion – A Mission for Special Children

The Arts and Souls Foundation shines as a beacon of inclusion and creativity in a world often focused on differences. The foundation firmly believes that each individual, irrespective of their abilities, possesses a unique gift waiting to be shared with the world. Taking art as a powerful and transformative medium, especially for those with special needs, it enables them to express themselves, connect with others, and explore the intricacies of their emotions.

From this perspective, the foundation is dedicated to nurturing individuals, particularly those with autism and other special needs, helping them discover and harness their artistic talents. Through art therapy, many students have witnessed significant improvements in their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Moreover, these students have successfully developed and sold a diverse range of art-based products, such as paintings, planters, and home décor items.

In an exclusive interview with The Interview World, Rahul Thakur, the Founder of the Arts and Souls Foundation, emphasizes how his organization has undertaken a mission to integrate special children into society. The approach involves not only honing their artistic skills but also empowering them to achieve financial independence. Here are the key highlights from his insightful interview.

Q: What is the mission and scope of your foundation’s initiatives in supporting children with multiple disabilities?

A: We actively engage with various disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, and learning disabilities. While several organizations focus on supporting these children, there is a noticeable gap in addressing the needs of hyperactive children. Much like those with autism, some children exhibit high levels of hyperactivity, making it challenging for them to sit still, follow instructions, and integrate into group settings.

Considering the unique challenges faced by these hyperactive children, who often lack suitable options for engagement, we have initiated efforts in this particular area. Traditional associations, which primarily cater to mildly autistic children, typically offer computer training and additional support to enhance their well-being.

In contrast, children with multiple challenges, marked by restlessness and hyperactivity, find themselves without viable options. Our intervention involves leveraging the therapeutic power of art to address these challenges. Our approach begins by helping these children relax and cultivating their interest in art, providing them with a constructive outlet. Subsequently, we showcase their artworks in public exhibitions, fostering a sense of accomplishment and pride.

This initiative aims to empower every participating artist, ensuring they gain independence through their artistic endeavors. Concerns often voiced by parents regarding the future of their children after completing such training are a driving force behind our commitment to making these young artists self-sufficient.

Republic Day Message from Founding Editors of The Interview World
Republic Day Message from Founding Editors of The Interview World

Q: What strategies or measures can be implemented to effectively address the concerns raised by these parents?

A: We’ve established an inclusive approach to integrate children with no boundaries in society. In the realm of art, limitless possibilities unfold. Children are empowered to choose colors and create art that sparks their excitement. Empowering them to make decisions, they not only produce artwork but also engage in activities with an additional layer of creativity. Through this, they work, enjoy, and discover the therapeutic benefits of channeling their energies into crafting beautiful art.

Independently, we strive for progress, taking our exhibitions to an international level. Last year, notable venues like Ambience Mall and Lee Meridian showcased our efforts. Our goal is to create a solid platform, despite societal challenges that often perceive these children differently. To us, they are no different from anyone else; they hold the same rights as everyone in society. Our mission is to seamlessly integrate these children into our social fabric, eliminating discrimination based on their disabilities. Instead, they should be regarded as precious individuals, entitled to the same rights as any other child. By leveraging their skills, our aim is for them to lead independent lives.

Q: How many children are beneficiaries or participants in your foundation’s programs or initiatives?

A: Our foundation is currently connected with approximately 150 children across India. We operate physical centers in Noida and Gurgaon, complemented by virtual sessions. Collaborating with over 10 schools nationwide, we actively engage in managing the curriculum for these children. Additionally, we have established a dedicated platform for their benefit.

Expanding our reach globally, we’ve initiated projects in international locations such as Dubai, London, and Australia. As a pioneering company in India, we specialize in providing professional art training to special children, fostering their economic independence. Remarkably, these children have begun earning a monthly income since the previous year. Notably, at least 5 children are now earning comparable to mainstream artists.

Q: What specific training or skills are essential for trainers to effectively educate and nurture the development of these children?

A: Trainers working with these children don’t require any special abilities or skills. The essential quality they need is patience. It’s crucial to comprehend the challenges these children face. When confronted with scenes of a child screaming, jumping, or throwing colors, the response should not be fear; instead, it calls for a calm demeanor to reassure the child that they are capable.

Engaging in such activities can be tiring for the child. Imposing boundaries may lead to irritation. Just like in my own experience as an artist, freedom is essential for creating good art. For children, imposing restrictions in art can hinder their creativity. We advocate for letting children freely explore their artistic expressions, allowing them to use any color in any proportion. After their initial output, we guide them through modifications and encourage them to add more.

Gradually, the children adapt to these suggestions, incorporating them into their art. Recognition and appreciation play a significant role in motivating them. It’s crucial not to force these children onto a predefined path but rather grant them the freedom to discover their unique path to excellence. There are no limits; they are free. Working collaboratively and freely with them allows them to flourish in the skills they love the most. The resulting output from their efforts is truly exceptional.

Paintings Created by Special Children Trained under the Arts and Souls Foundation
Paintings Created by Special Children Trained under the Arts and Souls Foundation
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you to Rahul Sir and Vinitha Ma’am for guidance and support .And special thanks to fellow parents for standing by each other

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