Cohort: Aug 2018, India Age: 17 Location: Kolkata Domain: Education
Running a theatre troupe that conducts awareness drives, in partnership with various NGOs and local authorities, on social issues that affect slums and rural communities.
The root cause of many of the problems in slums and rural areas, whether it be child labor, child marriage, exploitation, wandering, addiction, discrimination etc. is lack of education and awareness in these communities.
Sahil started Jagran with a team of kids from his slum in Kolkata as a theatre troupe that would primarily conduct awareness drives on social issues that affect their slum and rural communities. The Jagran Club then also evolved over the years from 2013 to 2015 as they had made performances in over 80 villages into a youth club that facilitates educational sessions for students from Kolkata’s slums through a Sunday school and through after-school sessions in different government schools that these kids are enrolled in.
In addition to Sahil, there are two girls and three boys. All the boys work in electric fan shops as well as support their families and studies. Though the girls’ families had many restrictions to continuing school, they are still doing their studies. The team worked with multiple social sector organisations and civic bodies, the likes of local panchayats to World Vision Foundation in conducting awareness drives, street plays etc. from their inception in 2012 up till 2015. Since the girls had reached adolescence, their families were unwilling to allow for them to travel to rural regions or other slums. They started their Sunday school and after-school playful learning programme. They had to convince a local school principal to allow them to use the school ground during weekends and were able to impact the lives of over 60 children from the streets for three years. After winning the support of Play For Peace through persistent efforts in August of 2017, Sahil and his team have directly engaged with over 1200 kids in West Bengal in the learning sessions they’ve conducted using puppetry, filmmaking, theatre, drawing etc.
Though he had to move to Delhi for work due to familial and financial reasons, Sahil now aspires to complete his schooling and go to college. His aim now is to help his team establish and run a ‘Slumshala’ in Kolkata.