Empowering the youth through art and theatre.

27th March 2019 was celebrated as World Theatre Day.

Theatre– a stage where art meets talent from all walks of life–is a place that holds the secret to empowering the underprivileged youth of our society. A secret that the Mumbai-based NGO, Salaam Mumbai Foundation, discovered through its Academy of Arts.

The Academy focuses on using the power of art and theatre to instil in the youth from the lesser-privileged backgrounds a sense of respect for themselves by giving education a chance to improve their life. Bringing art and education together to teach and help them improve their career-prospects, the foundation offers the youth after-school programs for personal and economic empowerment through experiential platforms of learning.

It’s through theatre that these youth not only find a voice to express their innermost feelings about a life that’s far removed from the rest of the privileged world, but also get a chance to develop their talents and improve their career opportunities.

The Academy found how, with the help of art and theatre, the school-dropout rate of these youth could be brought down. it has given them a brilliant opportunity through part-time employment and scholarships to continue with their education and dare to dream for a better future.

The Arts have shown to help students to critique themselves, learn from their mistakes and be open to experimenting.

One of the success stories from the Academy is of Sakshi Kasare, a 16 year old, who lives in a slum in Bandra, Mumbai, with her family of 11 members in a tiny space. She joined the Academy where she transformed from a clueless teenager to a confident performer–a mime artist–who won her first Best Actress Award at the NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts).

The news of her wining and her photograph made an appearance in the newspapers, which made her decide that this is what she would like to do in her life–act.

Many students have benefitted from the Academy. They have gained confidence and an increased self-esteem, and learned problem-solving and collaboration that will help them when they step into the world outside.

Recently, the Academy decided to collaborate with the Stanford Talisman–a student cappella group from the world-renowned Stanford University, USA. The concert, titled ‘Circle of Love’, performed multi-lingual compositions interspersed with mime productions by the Salaam Mumbai Foundation’s Academy of Art.

An adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, the performance brought together on stage privileged students from a world famous university and the underprivileged youth from Mumbai slums, with world-class theatre training. Their love for theatre was what brought about this collaboration.

The students from the university and the youth from Mumbai now look forward to performing in front of an audience from another country to showcase their talent.

The Salaam Mumbai Foundation and similar organisations today strive to create a space for these youth to educate them and help them learn life skills through the performing arts. They believe that these children, who may belong to the lesser-privileged background, do have the potential to make a space and a name for themselves and bring about a change in the social structure of the society they live in.

Sharing here, some snapshots of the beautiful performance by the two groups at NCPA on World Theatre Day.


*Linking the post to the We Are the World Blogfest – #WATWB. A blogfest that shares human news story from around the world that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

We Are The World Blogfest


Showing the world how arts helps improve lives of the lesser-privileged youth.

Published by shilpagupte

Do you know the secret to living a happy life? Eat. Pray. Love. Or, watch what you eat, wish well for all and fill your heart with love! That's precisely what I try to do through my blogs: 'Metanoia', the wellness blogazine, and 'Fictionista', my blog for fiction and non-fiction. Welcome to my virtual homes!

8 thoughts on “Empowering the youth through art and theatre.

  1. A resurgence of theater across cities would be a welcome move. Even if you want to take it as a stepping stone towards movies, this is where you spot actual talent instead of just taking children of actors.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Theater can really challenge the inner self as it takes a lot of gumption to stand in front of people and express yourself – what a novel way to instill confidence in young people! Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a nice, uplifting story. It’s nice to read about good things happening and thtough something someone loves, like theatre. Thanks for adding this story to WATWB. It’s a wonderful addition.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a great way for all to learn life and social skills and develop confidence, such a fragile thing in today’s world. and for those less advantaged, a wonderful way to build self-esteem. Thank you for this heart warming post Shilpa!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Shilpa – what a great way to open doors for people who can ‘escape’ into an area where they can express and be themselves, while meeting lots of new people and seeing different areas of life – which will then bring so much more into their home lives. Wonderful area – of openness to provide support in the community. Fantastic the co-operation that’s being engendered here … loved reading about it – and a great #WAWTB post … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like how you say, opening doors for people who can escape into an area where they can express and be themselves!
      It’s just what those young people need to create a better life for themselves.
      Thanks for the visit, Hilary!


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