9 a.m. in the beautiful city of Varanasi, India.
PWB team wakes up at by the side of the river Ganges, stretches its bones and proceeds to the upstairs café for the morning meeting. We sit around the table bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to plan our workshops, rehearsals for the show and have some breakfast and say “good mornin”. Then it’s off on our bicycles to workshops!
In the mornings we worked with Duniya School, a Dutch charity, working since 1996 they’ve helped the residents of the Nagwa slum have access to health and education. Alongside this Duniya Foundation distributes blankets to widows, the infirm and local families, provide food and extra curricular activities for the kids at the school and outreach projects in the community.
Raj, Nisha and the staff at Duniya really show a great interest in the development of their children and do regular social and after school activities. This was evident from the start when the staff all joined in on the workshops, their intention to learn so they can help the children where they can. Everyday a home cooked lunch is provided to all the children (in our opinion the best tasting food in Varanasi). The PWB team decided we would give more workshops with this organisation based on our shared interests in the community spirit and commitment to children.
The teaching space at the school was small and during these sessions we would do workshops based more towards the performance aspect rather than the prop such as clowning, mime or theatre. As an extra treat- twice a week we would go to a quiet square overlooking the river Ganges. This provided us with ample space to teach some hula hoop, poi and juggling workshops. The children really enjoyed the workshops and you could see the excitement exploding inside them every morning upon our arrival. Teaching these kids was an absolute pleasure; the teachers were always on hand translating and getting involved, the children well behaved and eager to learn.
We ended up donating a good portion of our PWB kit to Duniya School knowing that they would continue to bring out the props and encourage their children to play and learn these fun new arts. We knew this was the right decision when Coco and I went to the school a couple days after the project ended to drop of some last pieces of equipment. We found the school filled with children laughing and playing with the various circus props we had donated a few days prior. This is the kind of partners that PWB are looking to work with engaged in circus skills, to explore the physical and mental potential of the children while having great fun!