Kids playing with one of the team members
With the Donations gathered so far, Akhu Chingangbam could successfully conduct a range of workshops and lessons for the 62 children of his orphanage in the month of May. These include Ice Breaking Sessions with the children and the Staff; Introductory classes on Meitei Folk music taken by ChaobaThiyam, Tangkhul Folk music taught by the Legendary Naga Folk singer Guru Rewben Mashangva; Western Classical Guitar by Karnajit Laishram; and Basic Origami classes by Anku Heirangkhongjam. Regular music classes are being organized for the children and one song has also been written, composed and recorded! The children have also been able to hone their crafts making skills and other kinds of artwork.
The children have responded remarkably with the already visible enthusiasm, picked up the skills swiftly and according to Akhu’s report, have even demonstrated percussive skills. However, the recent activities were not devoid of challenges and they certainly wouldn’t be. Some of the problems pertained to the HIV positive children who are under ART medication that to a certain degree deters concentration. The children are usually very tired and weak. But the short attention span doesn’t necessarily hamper potential. For instance, an HIV positive child in the orphanage who also happens to have certain cancerous cells was one of the fastest amongst the children to have honed her guitar skills. The teachers and sisters in the orphanage noted that the children are so enthusiastic that they practice their lessons any free time they get, and they are very happy when they are practicing!
One thing the children enjoy the most is Akhu and his team playing for them. There have been moments when children just sit quietly listening to them play, sometimes they holding each other's hands and sometimes tears flowing their eyes. Such moments have been very touching for Akhu and his team as well. There also have been moments when the kids smile and laugh as they sing along clapping all the while. Akhu says that all such moments are testimonies of music working as a therapy for the little children in pain of loss.
The project has also attended to other needs of the children by mobilizing donations in Imphal and collecting huge numbers of items like clothes, toys, books, etc. Also, the children require substantial amounts of nutritional elements, especially vitamins. In the course of several activities, these children have grown attached to the members and vice versa. Many of them have opened up on a more personal level and become more outspoken. In fact, the teachers have been more inspired since. In the following month, the lessons would extend to dance therapy led by contemporary dancer Surjit Nongmeikapam along with visual screenings and excursion trips to various indigenous museums. Not to forget the recording of four songs with the children, and the music and guitar lessons shall continue.
Children practicing guitar lessons
Origami lessons going on