‘Non-profit ed-tech org setting out to become synonymous with art education in India’
Srinagar: The JK Arts Foundation, the first-of-its-kind non-profit ed-tech organization in Jammu and Kashmir with the mission to democratize ‘Arts in Education, was launched on the occasion of Children’s Day on November 14, 2021. Eshaa Wahie and Akeel Rashid from JKAF who facilitated the launching session said that as many children in India celebrate Children’s Day through creative events and campaigns, there are children from remote villages and disadvantaged backgrounds who are not able to nurture their creative instincts as they can’t acquire artistic skills from formal education. “JKAF, through its art program interventions, aims to improve learning and developmental outcomes by nurturing creative thinking among all children and particularly children from remote villages and disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Wahie. “The organization is dedicated to ensuring access and equity in art education by providing art-based learning opportunities to all, with particular attention to marginalised children. JKAF is setting out to become synonymous with art education in India,” she added. Speaking on the occasion, Geeta Vaishnavi, the founder of JKAF, said: “We aspire to be nothing less than a global movement and reach every school and every child –through campaigns and technology– with the important intervention of democratizing.” “Not only does art-making help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression that are commonly experienced by those suffering from chronic illnesses, but research also shows that the creative skill can be quite beneficial for children. This is because making art can improve cognitive functions by strengthening, or even creating new neural pathways in the brain, helping the brain to adapt and stay healthier,” said Vaishnavi. “In spite of the significant advantages that art education has to offer, it has not received the attention it deserves. JKAF wants to change that, as we are determined to take Art Education to the remotest villages of the country with the aid of technology,” she said. “As a street artist, I have been using art to raise consciousness about girl child education, women empowerment and climate change. But I want to do more. That’s why I started the JKAF as a research project, which is now a registered not-for-profit organization; leveraging technology to build confidence, creativity and virtues in children from Jammu and Kashmir,” she added. “Building up JKAF hasn’t been an easy journey; however, a big plus was the strong support I received from my team members, teachers and children. It reaffirmed my belief that building the organization would be the most meaningful thing to me in my career. I believe the amount of hard work, time and effort that I have put into building JKAF will produce concrete results and new and more opportunities for children to learn the artistic skills,” said Vaishnavi adding, “JKAF definitely will be a great opportunity for the children to develop their creative potential and will be the best gift they could receive on Children’s Day.” The participants, who were mostly students and teachers, expressed their satisfaction for participating and contributing in the creation of JKAF sponsored art programs that will benefit generations of students. It is worth mentioning that JKAF is an ed-tech, not-for-profit NGO promising to democratize “Arts in Education” with a goal of improving learning and developmental outcomes by nurturing creative thinking, confidence and instilling values such as empathy and kindness among all children and particularly children from remote villages and disadvantaged backgrounds.