S.S. KAVITHA

Children learnt and played team games at the workshops conducted by Sakthi-Vidiyal.

Sakthi-Vidiyal, a Madurai-based voluntary organisation, conducted five training workshops for its children to help them spend half-yearly holidays meaningfully. Each workshop was designed to suit the developmental needs and capacity of children of different age groups, said C. Jim Jesudoss, executive director. The workshop had sessions on team games named Malalayer Arangam for children in the age group of six to eight years. They learnt and played a number of team games with enough assistance from the volunteers of Vidiyal. The next group called "Thulirhal Arangam" imparted training in "body movements for theatre" for children in the age group of nine and 10 years. "We were amazed to watch the slum children take to acting naturally," said Jesudoss. The workshop used "Chiberish" as a tool. "Chiberish" is a language that does not have any meaning but it would convey a lot by way of body movements and facial expressions.

Folk dances

Next was the training workshop on folk dances at "sirpihal arangam" for children between 11 and 12 years. Students learnt folk dances like "Oyilattam" and "Devarattam". Traditional instruments like "thavil" and "urumi" were used. At the "Vidhaihal Arangam", the workshop on street theatre, children in the age group of 12 and 13 years took part. As the students had to work out a play production to put their ideas into action on the last day, "Vidhaihal Arangam" was organised as a residential programme.The workshop on cookery named as "Verhal Arangam" was conducted for the oldest group of children at Vidiyal belonging to the age group of 15 to18 years, who were eager to learn a skill for life. Children were divided into four groups namely Chinese, Chettinad, Andhra style and village cooking. The staff and volunteers taught them five recipes a day. A workshop on "Thappattam" was also conducted for the members of Vidiyal Cultural Team. More than 250 from the Vidiyal shelter homes at Melavasal, Thideer Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, Heera Nagar, Alavudeen Thoppu and Muthu Patti participated in the workshop. "When a child is given an opportunity and a congenial environment, every child would exercise his or her full potential. Vidiyal Child Rights Movement believes in the fact. So, we have organised such a workshop," said Jesudoss and added that children enjoyed every bit of the training.