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INK-ing a new pact

SRAVASTI DATTA
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Event Kids-INK is the first of its kind conference, teaching children how never to give up on their dreams

Making a difference The core team photo: murali kumar k.
Making a difference The core team photo: murali kumar k.

F irst started in 2009, the INK Conference, held in association with TED, received appreciation for its promotion of innovative ideas. It attracted 1000 attendees from 46 countries.

This month, the first ever Kids-INK Conference will be held in Bangalore. A day-long event for eight to 14 year-old-kids and their parents, the Kids-INK Conference seeks to expose children to alternative ideas and role models.

The speakers for the event have been selected with careful consideration, for the values they uphold and the self belief with which they've achieved their goals.

The speakers include, among others, cricketer Robin Uthappa, musician Shantanu Moitra, magician Ugesh Sarcar and tiger conservationist Sarath Champati. Hands-on workshops in creative writing, music, science and arts will be conducted.

Lakshmi Pratury, INK host and curator, who has been instrumental in bringing TED to India, contends that Kids-INK is a continuous process that involves experimentation.

“A kid's world revolves around an adult's. Kids often tag along with their parents. So we thought what it would be like to flip the situation and tag along with our kids instead? We've put children at the centre of all activity.”

There will be talks in the first half and workshops in the second. “Children don't get enough opportunities to work with their hands. Hence we've integrated physical activity with intellectual stimulation. One of our workshops will encourage children to produce music by tapping their hands on their bodies. Another workshop that will be conducted by Aravind Gupta, a science and tech expert, who will teach kids how to create toys from trash,” explains Lakshmi.

Besides Lakshmi, Nina Gannes a student from the United States, Mallory Clarke, a teacher for 25 years and Navya Prakash are members of the core team.

Each brings a different perspective. For Nina, Kids-INK is about instilling children with faith in themselves. “This isn't about how others measure you. Success is a process, so we want kids to know that even if you fail once, it doesn't mean you can't win eventually. This Conference is about feeding drops of inspiration to children that will help them achieve their dreams,” she adds.

Nina says that the speakers they've chosen have forged paths in their respective fields. “The speakers are representatives of different categories, as well as those who've chosen unconventional careers. There's Heera Singh who teaches break dancing to kids; Rohini Rau, a medical student who will participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Shailaja Gupta, a producer of films, who will teach kids that there is more to a movie than the handsome actor.”

Mallory says her teaching experience helped her design the talks and workshops that will be engaging for children and hold their attention. “I've learned more from my co-workers and contributed less,” she says humbly.

Navya, the brainchild behind Kids-INK, will not be attending the Conference due to academic commitments but Lakshmi stresses that her endeavours have added much to the programme.

“Oftentimes, kids see only the angle. They see, for instance, India winning the World Cup but they aren't aware that there is a journey behind it. We teach kids the process and give them a goal to achieve. Kids are always told what not to do, but if you gave them real responsibility, if one kid feels important, I think we've done our job,” Lakshmi concludes.

The Kids-INK Conference will be held tomorrow at the Alliance-Francaise, 108, Thimmaiah Road, Vasanthnagar. Charges are Rs. 1,000 per attendee. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and to register visit: www.inktalks.com/kidsink or call 41231343.

SRAVASTI DATTA

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