Child’s Play, Goa, India
The Child’s Play (India) Foundation works to bring classical music to underprivileged children in India. Its first project was a partnership with Hamara School, an educational institution for underprivileged children in Goa. Two doctors from High Wycombe, Luis and Chryselle Dias, left their jobs to lead the music project at the school. Musequality supported them with money for start-up costs, teaching and instruments.
The Hamara School serves communities in and around Panjim where living conditions are poor. Many children have no place to live, suffer from malnutrition and have no means to get education or medical help. The school was founded by Mangala Wagle of the Goa branch of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, and a few volunteers. Children are provided with breakfast, lunch and an evening snack, and are taught hygiene and basic primary level education.
In January 2011, Child’s Play ran its first session at the school, and Luis said there was huge excitement as 15 children had their first violin lessons. In July, a recorder programme was launched with classes twice a week, and the children took very enthusiastically to the new instrument. By December, the children were ready to give a concert. The violinists played Twinkle variations, while the recorder kids played tunes such as Mary Had a Little Lamb. Luis told us that two of the violin children, Irfan and Reshma, had won admission into Goa’s music school, Kala Academy, against tough competition from numerous middle-class kids.
Further Child's Play projects in other parts of India are now under way.