Pune: Songs, plays, comedy at NGO’s fundraising event

The Jazz Hands Foundation Teaches English To Municipal School Students Songs, plays, comedy at NGO’s fundraising event

Students rehearse for the upcoming event on Wednesday. (Express)

Written by Alifiya Nalwala 

A city-based NGO, the Jazz Hands Foundation, is planning to hold a fund-raiser event involving performances by singers and comedians, as well as dramas staged by students who the organisation helps to teach.

The NGO was set up when 23-year-old NYU alumni Arya Diwase and her friend Raghav Saraogi, bagged a stipend for a project on social entrepreneurship from NYU. The organisation aims to use drama and art to teach English to students of municipal schools. The programme started with two municipal schools initially. Jazz Hands recruited volunteers from city colleges and high schools to teach basic grammar and language skills to students.

“We used drama and art as our main tools because we believe they help to open up the kids’ imagination and break down communication barriers. Currently, we work with three schools where we take up six hours a week. Our volunteers now include school students themselves who help out after school hours,” said Diwase.

She further said the programme involved using tools such as roleplay, storytelling, poetry and drama. “For example, if we want to teach prepositions, we have modified the Boogie Woogie theme song,” she said.

Diwase said the programme has bridged the cultural gap between student volunteers who come from privileged backgrounds and those from municipal schools.

As part of the programme, the students are encouraged to write and stage their own plays, which are performed in front of their parents every year.

This year, to mark five years of the organisation’s work, the fundraiser, ‘Jazz Jam’ will be opened by singer and songwriter Raghav Meattle. The students will then stage their dramas, after which comedian Shankar Chugani will conclude the event.

“The students have written the dramas themselves, with the help of volunteers, and they are basically mystery dramas along the lines of Famous Five, with students solving riddles and clues,” said Diwase.

There will also be a flea market where organisations that work with marginalised communities and groups will showcase their products. The fundraiser will be held at the Orchid School, Baner, from 4 pm to 7 pm on January 19.