Share Stories Open Minds

Share Stories Open Minds

Kolkata, IndiaKolkata, India
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Actively supporting, nurturing and disseminating creative and critical activity in the field of the arts in India, especially fine arts, theatre and cinema

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

They're beggars and criminals with wasted lives of misery and pain. They are not the same as you and me. That is the first impression most of us derive of the children living in slums. Refusing to see reality and understand their circumstances we get judgmental. Growing in an environment of poverty, violence, abusive behaviours, rejection, we cannot be moral polices. To affect attitudes and values, to change thinking is not an easy task. Extremely intangible, very hard to quantify and pin down, as very often people will say one thing but think/do another. And yet we realized that it is only in the realm of values and attitudes that we can make a longterm difference. To provide inputs and allow critical thinking among children is what we aim at.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To stimulate young minds into thinking, questioning, probing preconceived notions and prejudice, challenging and coming up with their own answers is our endeavour. We are merely trying to bring them material to respond to, to react to, to think about and act upon. Stories, Films, people, performances, workshops, debates. To start a churning, to table the concern, to bring it to the forum. To make youngsters aware that there are a lot of people who believe that an alternate existence is possible. There can be mutual coexistence and communal harmony, and that they can be part of this network. This process is called seeding. Share Stories, Open Minds taps into the inherent creative impulse present in all of us to address value systems. It attempts to sow the seeds of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, living with difference and communal harmony, which is the scope of the PeaceWorks project.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The project Share Stories, Open Minds is a tie-up between PeaceWorks and Nabadisha, an initiative of Kolkata Police which works with street and slum children and is run entirely by volunteers. In just over a year’s time we are working in seven centres. The project started with a simple idea: focusing on the value of stories in our lives, and how they shape our upbringing and our childhood. In order to engage underprivileged children, driven by physical hunger and a thirst for knowledge, the project uses a careful selection of stories along with an open-minded attitude where one is able to innovate and adapt to the challenging conditions it is likely to encounter. Stories meant for such a project go beyond mere narration. They inspire children’s imagination and their sense of adventure, to grasp and internalise the positive message it sends. We now feel the need to engage in more extensive methods to sustain the actions, not only for the children but also for the volunteers. Through experience we have also realised that this method is an effective tool to work with and more children can be reached out to. The primary activities are • Storytelling • Workshops • Trainings • Exposure trips

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are plenty small and big organisations who work for the benefit for slum and street children. To name a few Child Rights and You, Save the Children, Child in Need Institute, Hope Foundation, Mass Welfare Society, Pathfinder are all organisations who cater to the needs of children primarily by providing meals, study material, education support, and clothing. We focus on educating children to think critically and make informed choices as against merely imbibing from their environment.
About You
The Seagull Foundation for the Arts
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

The Seagull Foundation for the Arts

Organization Country

, WB, Kolkata

Country where this project is creating social impact

, WB, Kolkata

Your role in Education

Resource Officer, Social Worker.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with


How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

The organization actively supports, nurtures and disseminates creative and critical activity in the field of the arts in India

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

The project works through arts and culture, with young minds, to foster a spirit of peaceful coexistence & mutual respect

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Over a years time we have expanded the project from two centres to seven centres. The eagerness with which children await these sessions is heartening. The one hour time they spend with the volunteers transports them in to a world of Fairy tales, Arabian nights, Panchantantra, Akbar and Birbal, and so on. They travel the world. But they are immediately grounded by the discussions and activities that are followed. This makes the children think and ponder for themselves. They see self worth in their existence. And over a period of time a gradual transformation in the behaviour and mannerisms is noticed. They present themselves as responsible young adults who are the future generation.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

The impacts we oversee over the next three period is:
• Coverage of all 17 Nabadisha centres.
• Increase in number of children and volunteers.
• Other institutions can replicate the Model being created by the organisation.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The barriers that might come along is the process of unlearning once they go back to their original environment. The lack of support that they would get could also hamper the process of learning. The reality they have to go back to can get them disillusioned. We plan to overcome this with careful mentoring by the volunteers, intensive workshops, and gradually encouraging them to become storytellers and volunteer for the project.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

• Increase in centres and children • Workshops for volunteers • Avail the expertise of Art practitioners

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Intense Publicity of the project and intake of new volunteers

Task 2

Creating a network of resource persons

Task 3

Monitoring and coordinating the process

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

• Workshops & Exposure trips, • Assessing the learning of the children. • Older children become volunteers

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Organizing the workshops and exposure trips

Task 2

Preparation of assessment tools

Task 3

Identifying and training potential children from the centres to become volunteers.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

PeaceWorks initiated its work with young adults hailing from well to do families who enjoyed privileges and opportunities whom a large section would not be able to afford. It was felt that this section of society also needed to be sensitized and given exposure towards the struggles of the underprivileged.
There was always a tug in the heart to work with the other section of children. The chance meeting with Kolkata Police initiated our intervention in their Nabadisha Project that works with slum and street children. What better way to tap young minds but through the art form of Storytelling! We grew up on stories and have passed on the same to the next generation. There is a bountiful of stories that teach morals and values. With funding nearing an end by Ford Foundation simultaneously, and starting this new project, with the help of volunteers it has been an exhilarating experience and needs to expand and sustain itself. The need is immense which needs to be addressed & sustained

Tell us about your partnerships
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

The core team consists of two persons from the Seagull Foundation for the Arts, 2 volunteers each for the Story Telling sessions (i.e. 14 volunteers at present).

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Financial support is required to expand the work proposed in section 5, 6, 7, 8 of Social Impact. Publicity, getting art practitioners, providing training all entails expenditure. Not compromising on the deliverables the finest of services will be provided.