Pause, listen, approach: How Slam Out Loud is helping scores of students during the pandemic
New Delhi, Nov 03: A not-for-profit organisation, the Delhi based Slam Out Loud (SOL) had trained thousands of children across the country in various art forms such as poetry, theatre, storytelling. And this is all free of cost.
As a 16-year-old poet, Abbas is a youth activist, championing for mental health and gender equality, and using his own voice to drive change within his community. However, millions of children across the world are yearning to be taken seriously and participate in the decisions that affect them.
In the wake of the Covid pandemic, 1.5 Billion children across the world are unable to access classrooms. From the uncertainty of completing the academic year to larger systemic issues like the digital divide, students have been struggling to learn.
Learner's loneliness has steadily been rising, translating into high levels of anxiety and an inability to focus on information and retain it. With an internal chaos brewing within children, how can we inspire them to continue learning from home until we first cater to their individual well-being?
As educators keeping intact the commitment for children everywhere to find their voice, Slam Out Loud decided to pause, listen to students and then approach the problem with compassion and creativity.
In a bid to foster, well-being, creative outcomes and mental resilience in students, SOL decided to leverage the power of arts and low tech platforms through Arts for All. AFA is an initiative that offers localised, need-sensitive, multilingual and engaging at-home audio, video, text, and print resources for young learners who have limited internet access.
These include booklets with art activities for student well-being, SEL focused Youtube courses on storytelling, theatre, visual art and poetry (disseminated through WhatsApp) and also some byte-sized art-based learning audio podcasts that deliver activities over an IVRS system.
There are 4.7 million children taking part in Slam Out Loud's art-based activities for fostering wellness and Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL), across 23 states in India and 19 countries globally.
To check out SOL's, DIY-Art playlists, freely hosted on YouTube for individual art forms you could follow the links below:
Recently, SOL, closed an eight-week pilot project with the Government of Patiala in India, disseminating art activities to 1.4 Lakh plus children every day, and have also partnered with Gram Vaani to enable art access for children with low internet bandwidth through an audio-visual platform. Over the last few months, SOL also partnered with state actors such as BCG, Leadership for Equity, and the Government of Gujarat, enabling them to scale and reach more children across the country.
The children's artwork has brightened up all social media platforms SOL exists on, along with being featured on Nickelodeon - giving them a space to own and shine in, especially during these challenging times. SOL is now piloting their IVRS model and WhatsApp Chatbot in order to democratise access to art learning and hope this is a step in the right direction to amplifying our children's stories.
Do check out the performances by these children: