Project Sukoon is a support programme run by Khula Aasman for women. Women under this programme are trained in various art and craft activities such as jewellery-making and furniture-making. Khula Aasman pays these women a stipend and trains them to conduct similar workshops on their own. In order to do our bit for Mother Earth, we try making products out of recycled and eco-friendly materials.
Project Inner Light – The Prison Project
Project Inner Light works with men and women in prisons in order to facilitate rehabilitation. The focus is on uplifting well-being even inside the prison walls through relaxation and arts-based techniques using music, drama, storytelling, drawing, painting, and clay work.
Project Hansi Khushi
Project Hansi Khushi focuses on elevating the mental health of at-risk adolescents and youth through expressive Arts Based Therapy interventions. The emphasis is on providing a safe, nonjudgmental, creative space for children to play, share, bond, and reflect. The goal is to channel troubling emotions and pent-up energy into a positive output.
Khula Aasman works with women in rescue-homes by facilitating brave spaces for them to process the negative effects of traumatic experiences they may have encountered. The goal is to empower these women at a physical, mental, and emotional level through Dance Movement Therapy, literacy classes, and arts-based activities so that they are able to rebuild their lives from a newer, fresher perspective.
We are currently associated with 3 institutions where we have conducted long-term interventions.
- Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh‒ a home for women who have experienced human trafficking
- Government Special Home for Girls ‒ a home for rescued child sex workers between the ages of 12 and 18
- Kasturba Mahila Vastigruh – A Government Reception Center for women.
While the primary goal of this intervention is to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, it has also shed light on the felt needs of the individuals living in these contexts. Through our engagement with Navjeevan, we learnt that a majority of the women that we were working with listed the lack of access to education at a young age as one of the limiting factors that reduced livelihood options for them as adults. In response to this, Khula Aasman initiated a literacy enhancing programme in the Navjeevan Rescue Home for Women by starting a Book Library and a Literacy Class. This provides them the space for learning, re-learning, and updating the reading and writing skills. Most women desire to learn Hindi and English and therefore attend these classes with full interest. The Khula Aasman mentor gives attention to their individual requirements and encourages them to read story books. Khula Aasman is aiming to get women enrolled for the Secondary School Certificate exam through NIOS.
Children’s Resource Centre (CRC)
Children’s Resource Center (CRC) is a project undertaken by Khula Aasman Trust with Action Aid that focuses on bridging the learning gaps for school going children from classes 1st-7th. Through CRC, we envisage a space for Creative Learning, Life skills development and an overall positive learning atmosphere and improved academic performance for the students. CRC facilitators use Arts-based techniques and Play as methods of learning and engagement with children.
Supported by Action Aid India, we seek to engage with children from lower income families. Ultimately we seek to impact the high school dropout rates especially amongst the female population by building a strong foundation of academic basics through fun learning. We also work with adolescents through programs like Communication Forum that aims to facilitate better communication between mother and female children, Life skills sessions focussed on sexual and reproductive health rights, Play way sessions for children from 8th grade upwards focused on mathematics, science, geography, history and language, as also Career Guidance for these children.
Creative Community Centre
Khula Aasman in collaboration with Doctors For You (DFY) works with children in open communities such as Lallubhai Compound to form a safe, creative space for play, intellectual stimulation, and enjoyment of children before and after school hours. The goal is to guide the energies of the children in a positive manner so that they refrain from self-destructive behaviours like substance abuse and violence.
As part of our work in the community we have started a Newsletter written with the children from the community. the idea behind this is to create the space to build curiosity and skill, interact and influence their communities and share their stories.
Click here to read all issues of the CCC Newsletter.
The Wellbeing Project
– How do children understand and interact with the concept of their own wellbeing?
– Are Art and Play truly impactful methods of engagement with children?
These were the two primary questions the team sought to answer through the Wellbeing Project, an initiative supported by Fundación Educación y Cooperación (Educo).
Using Art as a tool for inquiry, the KA team worked with 150 children from rural and Urban Maharashtra aged 10 -14, reflecting upon 2 major questions:
- How am I when I am okay?
- How am I when I am not okay?
The study also explored the factors that influence the feeling of ‘being okay’/ ‘not okay’, thereby exploring wellbeing and all it’s facets as understood by children.
These factors included (as explored and listed by children) – environment and infrastructure, cleanliness, healthy and positive relationships with people, animals and plants, acknowledgement and praise, positive peer relationships, positive touch, the absence of volatile emotions and vice and also the presence of clean spaces to play and commune as children.
An exhibition of all the children’s art was held on the 1st and 2nd of March 2019, at Rachna Sansad College of Art, Prabhadevi Mumbai.
This event also unveiled the first draft of the report that collated and analysed the findings of the study. We believe that this report has important implications for stakeholders who are involved in program planning, facilitation and development of programs related to children’s wellbeing, as well as anyone who has children around them.
Caring for Caretakers Programme
Our work spanning years of intervention in institutionalised settings has taught us that it is also necessary to nurture those who work in the institutions itself, as they often experience the impact of vicarious trauma, and high levels of frustration and anger. Khula Aasman has been conducting sessions and workshops to provide spaces for reflection, relaxation and support to various caretakers working in institutions like Rescue Homes, Observation Homes and Prison settings.
Workshops with Students, Teachers and Institutions
Khula Aasman believes in creating spaces where students can engage with art and art-based techniques through a social lens. Aside from providing spaces for field placements and internships to students we also regularly conduct workshops and sessions with students in various institutions, with the objective of introducing art as a tool for therapy, reflection, inquiry and learning.
Through these workshops students also get the opportunity to explore their own lives and issues, connect with others in the group and explore healthy ways of coping; they are also introduced to the concept of Self-care as a practice and self soothing techniques.
Play for Peace® (Mumbai) Club
We are proud to say that Khula Aasman is now officially a part of the Global Club and a training centre under its aegis! Our journey with PFP began circa 2014, when we started Play For Peace® as a Train the Trainers programme with our in house PFP trainer, having seen the possibility of non-competitive games through our work at the community level.
In 2015, we registered officially with PFP in to be part of the Global PFP community as Khula Aasman Club, working locally within the community here in Mankhurd, Mumbai. Under our programme here we not only use non-competitive games through PFP in our work with the community, but also conduct certification modules for people and experiential trainer’s as PFP trainers. Through our PFP centre, more than 30 people have begun their journey as PFP trainer’s within communities locally bringing more joy and play to youth in communities, inspiring them as well.
Wall painting projects
Often as a culmination of our work in institutions, the team along with the participants engage in a wall painting activity that puts down the journey experienced by the participants through the therapeutic intervention; these often highlight participants’ wishes, dreams and stories of strength and resilience. The impact of this activity is magnified owing to the fact that most participants are from underprivileged groups and often have never even experienced holding a paint brush before. It creates a platform to experience possibilities and empowerment, and serves as a scaffold to the self learning through the course of the intervention, long after it is over.
These spaces are often drab, and these paintings serve as cognitive and emotional stimulation and are stories of hope in spaces where there is very little and often none.
We have been able to complete these projects at several spaces including Observation Homes, Rescue Homes and Prison settings.
NavJeevan Rescue home