The Maya Project

I’m traveling to India! I will be volunteering  the next two months for the Maya Project, a joint project of two great organizations, Teach for India and Artists Striving to End Poverty. It’s a wonderful project, aimed at the empowerment of children to creatively work for the change they would like to see.

I will be working in Mumbai and Pune for the Maya Project.
I will be working in Mumbai and Pune for the Maya Project.

A significant part of this program is the touring of an original musical titled “Maya.” I will be making about 60 masks and puppets for this fantastic story! Nine-headed snakes, a rhino, and soul-sucking shadows are just the tip of the iceberg. The plot involves the daughter of the Kingdom of Light and her quest to keep the world in light through the lifting of three curses on the kingdom. She can only fix these problems, as it turns out, by finding her inner strength, compassion and wisdom.

This show will be performed by about 90 kids from the lower and middle classes for thousands of other kids around India. Through this project, thirty of the performers have been investigating these themes and their real world applications for the last year.  Though the performers and audience may experience the themes of the show in slightly different ways, this project is a great way to inspire youth to share their voices and their light.

From Teach For India’s website:

“In India today, 4% of our children never start school. 58% don’t complete primary schools. And 90% don’t complete school. At Teach For India, the fact that only 10% of our children go on to college both saddens and angers us.

Teach For India exists because of a deep belief that every child can and must attain an excellent education. Teach For India exists to prove that no child’s demographics should determine his or her destiny. To us, the end of educational inequity is the freedom for all children to have the opportunity to reach their potential. And the day that all children reach their potential is the day that India reaches her potential.

Teach For India believes that that day will come in our lifetime.

Teach For India believes that it will take a movement of leaders with the idealism, belief, skills and commitment to actualize this vision. We are committed to finding, developing and supporting India’s brightest, most promising leaders for this to happen.”

Ganesha (depicted here in small finger puppet form) is a remover of obstacles and bringer of wisdom. He is also associated with new beginnings.
Ganesha (depicted here in small finger puppet form) is a remover of obstacles and bringer of wisdom. He is also associated with new beginnings.

This is a hugely significant project, and I’m honored to be a part of it. What could be a more fitting project for me than one that involves creating masks and puppets, working with you, and working to make the world better?

I will be flying to Mumbai this week to begin work. Many have already been so generous with their presence, advice, hospitality, funds, warm wishes and spirit. Thank you all. I can’t wait to pay it  all forward!

Stay Tuned!

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