Monday, January 20, 2014

A Show of Strength in India

While in Kolkata, India, visiting programs supported by Empower the Children (ETC), I was invited to a wonderful evening of music, dance and theater. The actors included children from the Preyrona vocational schools supported by ETC, as well as 'specially-abled' children from Prabartak Home. The 'children' from Prabartak are mentally or physically challenged, orphaned adults who find security, love and safety, a true 'home.' Their play concerned a princess who was captured by demons just before her wedding. She is taught how to fight and defend herself by a helpful woman in the demons' realm. She is able to save herself and others - a true role model for today's modern women.

The children from the vocational school performed a play with themes ripped from the headlines of Indian newspapers. One story involved maids demanding better pay and work hours, their leader a feminist from the community. The second theme was that of dowry. A young woman's wedding approaches and she is urged to not give in to dowry demands - after all, asking for dowry is illegal in India. The bride's mother-in-law is at first shocked when her son's new wife arrives without the long list of gifts she had requested. The mother-in-law soon sees the error of her ways and the play ends with a happy daughter in-law free of dowry commitments! Jai ho!

Below are a few scenes from both performances. The sets were beautifully constructed and the actors magnificent in their roles. Bravo!

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Volunteer India
Planting an Urban Garden in India

The demons are defeated!

The actors from Prabartak are seated for the next performance!

The Prabatak actors with their instruments.

Here you can see the maids and the young bride in their ground breaking performance! The girls were quite wonderful actresses - and they are just in their teens!

The maids discuss their rights.

The mother-in-law!

"Oh my aching feet!"

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