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Rhythms of compassion

I decided to combine dance with philanthropy, says Cheryl. Photo courtesy: Chiara Ferronato.

I decided to combine dance with philanthropy, says Cheryl. Photo courtesy: Chiara Ferronato.  

Meet Cheryl Lynn Obal who uses her talents to help raise funds for the poor and needy

She had the world going for her. Dancer-choreographer Cheryl Lynn Obal travelled across the globe working with some of the top dance companies in New York and Italy. Her life was “glamorous and I performed for the rich.”

But all that changed one day when she performed in a developing country. “After a great performance, I walked out of the auditorium and my heart crumbled when I saw a little child begging on the streets.

Suddenly I felt that my life was so empty, inspite of all the glamour that was surrounding me. I realised that I had become self-centered as a dancer.”

“Travelling exposed me to various cultures, arts and lifestyles and the hardships of the poor in some countries,” recalls Cheryl, who adds: “That got me thinking that I should use my talent to help those in need. So I started teaching dance and organising workshops and giving away the entire fee to those in need.”

After having travelled across 50 countries and working with other NGOs, Cheryl says that she was looking for a chance to work in India. The opportunity came when Opteamix employed her. Now she works with this IT company for her “daily bread”. But, because of her passion she has also taken up the responsibly as the vice-president of the Kote Foundation’s (a wing of Opteamix) initiative called the Right to Live started by Raghuram Kote.

“We give medical funding for the poor. Especially to those with serious medical conditions. The organisation works on crowd funding. I have a split role. I work technically for Opteamix and am on its pay roll.

But I also am actively involved with Right to Live. It’s a part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative,” explains this dancer, who is trained in jazz, ballet and contemporary dance styles.

Her innings with the city started a couple of years ago, when she came here as a volunteer and “fell in love with it. I decided to combine dance with philanthropy. It’s the duty of artistes to give back something to the society.”

Cheryl adds that she even celebrates her birthday with a cause. “I tell my friends to give me a donation instead of gifts and then give it to those in dire need.”

She plans to stay on here for two or three more years. And adds that every artiste can send a message about the poor and their sufferings using their art.

“We can all come together, have some fun, create something and give it all away for a cause. Give a little bit of yourself – your time, money, talent and it will save and transform someone’s life.”

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 2:51:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/rhythms-of-compassion/article7305807.ece

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