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New Delhi woman unlocks power of music for street kids

A young woman in New Delhi opens up the world of music to at-risk kids. Many of them have been traumatized and abandoned, but Faith, 23, gives them self-confidence and new skills with her organization, Music Basti.

From reporter Aletta André:

The moment we walk into the Kushi Home, Faith Gonsalves is surrounded by girls who demand her attention. “Didi, didi,” they yell at her: “Big sister.”

More than 100 girls between the ages of six and 14 live in the Kushi Home, in an industrial area in the southern outskirts of India’s capital New Delhi. Some of them might be orphans, some have run away from their homes, while others have families incapable of taking care of them.

Faith, a 23-year-old from New Delhi, has earned her popularity. For the past four years, she has been devoting most of her time to children like the girls living here, by teaching them music.

“The far majority of the children that we work with have been sexually abused,” Faith told me just about an hour before reaching the home, when we first met in a café in one of Delhi’s wealthier areas. It is impossible not to remember this while looking at all those girls, running around the playground, posing for my pictures and demanding attention from their didi.

A singer and music-lover herself, Faith knew that music can help children immensely, not only to enjoy life and forget their problems, but also to develop communication skills and to boost their confidence. To teach music and music appreciation to so-called children-at-risk, she decided to start up the project Music Basti in 2008 when she was still a college student at Delhi University.

Music Basti now organizes several workshops in singing and playing instruments every week, the occasional music performance and even launched an album with songs by the children last year. The project works together with dozens of other organizations and has worked with a few hundred volunteer teachers and musicians. It reaches out to more than 400 girls and boys in places such as Kushi Home.

Listen to the report:

New Delhi Music Basti

Faith

Faith believes in the power of music

A performance by boys who live in the Unmeed Home, which is run by the organisation Dil Se Campaign

A performance by boys who live in the Unmeed Home, which is run by the organisation Dil Se Campaign

'Khushi Home for girls, which is run by the organisation Dil Se Campaign

'Khushi Home for girls, which is run by the organisation Dil Se Campaign

Date

Tuesday 03.04.2012 | 11:53

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