Lit up by decorative diyas made by children, the congested bylanes of the Bapu Dham slum in south Delhi glow with an added shine this Diwali.
Children hard at work, learning how to make diyas from
volunteers at Rhythm of Life (PIC/IANS)
In an effort that has given an added creative edge as well as provided a skill to bring in some extra money, a group of 42 college students from the voluntary organisation Rhythm Of Life (ROL) have taken on the initiative to train these children.
"We train children in making creative crafts like designer diyas, paper bags and kites. The organisation was started by a group of four college students in 2010 with the aim of teaching music, but later we found that these children are interested in other creative things," Shrey Chohan, president of ROL, told IANS.
Starting with a team of four, ROL now comprises 42 students who share their knowledge of art, dance and music with the children of Bapu Dham, a slum in south Delhi's Chanakyapuri.
Besides diyas, paper bags, stoles and other decorative items made by the children were sold at Diwali melas in various parts of the city, like Jesus and Mary College and Greater Kailash II. Priced at a modest Rs.20 to Rs.130, the items were picked up fast.
The children are happy and so are their parents.
"The makeshift classes are conducted twice in a week and the children are taught in an informal and friendly manner. This keeps the children occupied constructively," said Bapu Lal, a parent.
Red, blue and yellow colours dripping from her hands, eight-year-old Harshita added happily: "This Diwali is special for me. I have created my own diyas, paper bags and have decorated my house."
Jatin Sharma, 14, said he is already teaching other children in school the crafts he has picked up.
"We train children in the age group of four to 16 years to make designer diyas. We give them all the raw material for the crafts. We have also started training them in spoken English," said Devika, a student of Jamia Milia University who is also the treasurer of ROL.
The students, she said, were pooling their pocket money to get raw material. They were also planning to recruit another crafts teacher to help train more children.