Our first project in India took us to Hyderabad, in the newly formed state of Telangana, South India in 2015. Families of migrant labourers, and people who have been dispossessed of their land and homes due to urban development, are living in poverty. Inadequate housing, poor drainage and water supplies, coupled with social exclusion, are taking their toll on the mental and social development of the children. Whilst music therapy training courses do exist in India, they are relatively new and graduate numbers are small.
Impact and Activites to date
An introductory Skill-Sharing project delivered in 2015 saw 15 staff skilled and equipped to run music sessions themselves in 2 care settings: a local primary school (Patashala) and a centre for children and adults with autism (ARMS centre). 11 children and adults participated in music sessions during the project and 228 children and adults could subsequently benefit as the local staff develop their music programmes.
Our work in Hyderabad has been in partnership with 'Hyderapals’, a small organisation working in a number of schools and centres across Hyderabad, and the project was led by an Indian music therapist, Somesh Purey, together with a Scottish music therapist, Alastair Robertson.
In 2016, we returned to follow-up on the Introductory Training Project in Hyderabad, to help our Local Partners address any challenges and to share their successes. Their music programmes are now well-established and we remain available to offer ongoing support as and when they feel they need it.
“We wish we had done this earlier, but it is better late than never. There is a lot of change, [the teachers'] outlook has been changed. The approach to our children has been changed, from the teachers' point of view and from the parents' point of view. This is just the start we would like to continue. This will continue, certainly it will continue” (Dr Sindhu, director of the ARMS centre)
We are looking forward to being back in touch with our partners at both the ARMS Centre and Patashala School this year to hear how their work with music is progressing and to provide further training, support or resources depending on what our Local Partners feel they need to strengthen their music programmes.