I spent three days taking a creative learning and visual story making workshop at a beautiful village learning center in rural Rajasthan. This was organised by the Organisation for Early Learning Program (OELP) which is an extremely committed and creative collective of activists and educators from both Rajasthan and New Delhi.
In the workshop, I along with my partner Nishant Kumar, went through a series of fun learning activities focused on story boarding, illustration and book making. The workshop had 20 children participating from 4 neighbouring villages, all in Ajmer District, Rajasthan. Along with the children we had 8 organisation volunteers who run village libraries also participating. The entire group was the largest workshop group I’ve taken but turned out to be focused, interested and very helpful!
We began with simpler drawing exercises like blind drawing and drawing each others faces in pairs without looking at the paper. We then started with a simple four panel comic and I showed a sample I had earlier created – my first Hindi comic! From the comics that everyone made, we developed little books and each child and volunteer learnt a Japanese thread book binding technique which they found very helplful as they could use it to mend torn books in their libraries as well 🙂
On the last day we introduced using a Wacom digital drawing tablet to the kids and in groups of five they made illustrations on the computer with Nishant’s guidance of how to use different tools. This was the first time that most of these kids had done anything on a computer and it felt quite special to open a new door in their lives.
Through the workshop there was a lot of song and dance, music binds these communities together and it was amazing to be part of the energy for a even such a short period. We are currently in the process of planning a year of similar monthly workshops and I can’t wait to get back to the village!!
Here are glimpses from the workshop –
We are also working on publishing some of the books by the children which will be availible in the village libraries and in the future reach a wider audiance as well.