India

How an art school is helping slum children in Delhi

In this picture taken on September 2, 2015, Indian students sit alongside a wall covered with paintings at an art school in Nangloi, a colony in west New Delhi. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The school has up to 60 students, taking lessons in drawing, painting, and clay modelling

"The parents used to tell me, you're wasting your time, colouring on paper doesn't put food on the table," Rangamma Kaul, an art teacher in the Indian capital, Delhi, tells AFP news agency.

That was 20 years ago when the 51-year-old teacher, who has a degree in fine arts, launched her art school for slum children in Nangloi in the western part of the city.

Today her school has up to 60 students, taking lessons in drawing, painting, and clay modelling, although many parents are unsure of how art can help their children get jobs.

Housewife Sunita Nigam, whose husband earns 6,000 to 7,000 rupees ($110; £70) a month at a slipper factory, said she wants her son Shlok, to keep taking the classes.

The more skills, Nigam reasons, the better his chances of fighting his way out of poverty.

"I want my son to paint, to draw like others. I want my child to do everything, to grow up and become a doctor".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Students at the slum art school draw their favourite cartoon characters
Image copyright AFP
Image caption They have also drawn a painting of famous Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar on the wall of the school
Image copyright AFP
Image caption 'Many still think art is meaningless,' says teacher teacher Rangamma Kaul. 'But it's a chance to let the kids know that there is scope in their lives'.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The school charges two rupees - less than a cent - a year per student and funding from NGOs is not sufficient.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many of the students are often called to paint murals and other art during religious festivals. They also participate in art exhibitions.

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