He may have shown undue aggression against Indian batsmen as a menacing fast bowler but post-retirement from international cricket, Australian philanthropist Brett Lee is doing his best to ensure that marginalised Indian children get to lead a better life through education.
Launching “Mewsic and Education Bus” at Australian High Commission here on Wednesday morning, Lee said cricket was not upper most in his mind because it was his work as a philanthropist which was keeping him occupied.
“For me the easier way would have been to launch a cricket academy. But I wanted to reach out to marginalised children living in slum communities. These children have seen many tragedies in their lives. Some are orphans, while others struggle to even find food. So the idea is to entertain them through music and slowly make them realise the significance of education. Music acts as a therapy and this initiative has been designed to update drop-outs on basic education. It would motivate these kids to join schools.”
A big Bollywood fan, Lee has recommended local music for children of Wazirpur, Bhalswa J.J. cluster and Haiderpur village. The bus would travel to these places and educationists, who can teach all subjects, would be in it.
The speedstar has personally interacted with the children in his broken Hindi, played cricket with them and brought a lot of joy into their lives.
“Local music would resonate with them and enrich their lives. Our educational programme covers a lot of different things. We would like to introduce these buses in every State. When I embarked on this initiative, the idea was always long term. I am committed to these children and am confident that funds would not dry up.”
Mewsic India Foundation CEO Emily Harrison, who manages Mewsic, said children respond better in classes after listening to music.
“Our partners Deepalaya had expertise in the field because it had launched education on wheels programme. The NGO even had a bus but it did not have funds to use the bus in slum communities. So we had the funds and decided to partner with it.”
Noting that music has been an integral part of children in his non-government organisation, Deepalaya president A.J. Philip said the bus would offer opportunities to them.
Delivering non-formal education to slum kids, Mewsic bus is a roaming learning centre which will educate and empower underprivileged children. To ignite the spark within kids, the bus would provide children access to tuitions and musical instruments.