Reinventing the skip-generation family through art
Hyderabad-based NGO Thinking Hand brought together senior citizens from old age homes and orphans to create pieces of art — but the art wasn’t the the most powerful outcome, it was the connections derived.
When we think of the special grandparents-grandchildren connection, we see how much love and energy is invested into this bond. But sometimes, there are families which miss out on these valuable opportunities. That’s why NGO Thinking Hand brought 25 children from the Cherish Orphanage to Goldage home where the participants engaged different activities around arts and crafts. The whole idea is to show folks in old age homes they aren’t forgotten and to also show the children they are still surrounded by love.
“It was honestly so amazing to see these different generations come together,” says Thinking Hand founder Santosh Kumar Ketham. He and volunteers from his NGO Md Sulaiman, Zebunisa, Yoganand Naidu, Ali Hashmi, Kubra, Tejaswini, Deepak Thapa, Rasha Fathima, Ameen, Ravi Rudroj and Praveen Kumar all were present for the event at Goldage. “We saw these groups with huge family vacuums and we wanted to remove that and fill it with something positive. They’re going through a lot mentally and emotionally and that’s very much neglected. We want to remind them of their value.”
Enhancing communication skills was also a key goal here; stories were exchanged at the event which enhanced the connections. The medium of art helped the students overcome shyness as well, as the elderly patiently taught them how to paint a pot and stay within the lines when colouring in drawings.
Santosh describes a bonding between an 86-year-old man and a few youngsters, explaining that the elderly man had been left at the old-age home without chance of communicating with his biological family. “By the end of the session, they had not just worked on these projects together, they also connected in a very important way. The elderly man had ended up asking the children to even attend his funeral because he felt in his gut that his family would not come. Knowing we could change some families’ infrastructure in this way — even towards the end of their life — really was heart-warming.”
From a project perspective, Thinking Hand is motivated to move forward with more community-building. While Santosh is an architect, he and his organisation are always thinking of aspects beyond the physical buildings. He asserts, “Building happy nations is so important. That’s only when we can eradicate neglected communities like slums, orphanages, old-age homes by creating egalitarian societies and communities... let’s think and re-engage a lost human connection!”
On Sunday, Thinking Hand will be displaying the works created at the event. “We want to show there’s also value to what’s been physically created. While we can’t bring the senior citizens to the exhibition, the children will definitely be there. They’re more than happy to share these wonderful stories about how they haven’t lost hope in the idea of a ‘family’ which is the key takeaway for everyone involved.”
The single-day exhibition will be taking place at Ketham’s Atelier and Thinking Hand offices located on Road Number 4 in Banjara Hills on Sunday February 3 from 12pm to 5pm, with a follow-up discussion from 5pm to 6pm.