Shadows to Stars
Shadows to Stars Project works towards enabling an English learning ecosystem for slum children using tools such as sports, music, art, cinema, the internet and popular culture. Our central philosophy is facilitating interaction between people from different social classes in order to enable knowledge transfer.
Shadows to Stars Project was launched by a group of friends in August 2017 in the East Bengaluru slum of Nellorepuram.
The principal aim of the initiative was to evolve a non-formal education module, with English as the medium of instruction, located in the neighbourhood, supported by mothers from the local community, and motivated professionals from different fields.
The first English classroom was the local football field. The coaching was conducted in English. The experiment on the playground turned into a runaway success with as many as 50 enrollments — 27 boys and 23 girls — within the first month. Soon similar experiments were conducted through trial classes in music, cinema and art — all in English — which also turned out to be hugely popular with the students.
In August 2019, the Shadows to Stars Project was formally adopted by Maarga. Impressed with the experiments in Nellorepuram, Maarga also started a football program for its girls and now has 20 regular players.
As an institution located inside a slum and run by a team of mostly women residents, Maarga has deep roots in the local communities. As local stake holders, we play the role of a bridge between the community and our partners. Each of our partner, institutions and individuals, work with complete autonomy in their respective fields of intervention.
Maarga is now formalizing modules and raising funds for not just the football program but also to start regular, professionally run classes in music, art, theatre as well as film appreciation and making. Efforts are also on to build a comic book library in the two neighbourhoods.
By 2020, at least 200 children in the identified areas should have access through the year to regular, professionally-run theatre, music, film appreciation and sports sessions. This will be achieved through regular interactions with professionals from these fields as well as sciences, humanities, technology, finance, management, journalism, literature.
They should be able to develop skills to use technology creatively and be digitally savvy. carry out simple conversations in English to express their ideas and emotions and have access to a range of books in English. We hope to inculcate an understanding of gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity.
In addition, the should have an experience in conflict resolution, know their legal rights.