- Youth Outreach programme with the Yuva Ekta Foundation brings together young people from diverse backgrounds in a series of workshops titled ‘Freedom to Dream’ including 5 participants all the way from Madhya Pradesh based Janwaar Castle, India’s first rural skatepark
Jaipur, 14 January: The largest free Literary Festival in the world, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is one of the most exciting, stimulating platforms for an egalitarian exchange of books and ideas, bringing together some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across the world! From Nobel Laureates, Man Booker prize winners to local language writers and debut novelists, the magical lure of the festival attracts audiences from different parts of the world every year.
A highlight of the demographic population that the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival attracts is the large number of young people who throng to the festival grounds, thirsting to receive from some of the best literary and political minds! Keeping this in focus and hugely aware of their intent to give back to the city that plays host to them, Teamwork Arts, the producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, run School Outreach and Youth Outreach programmes every year, parallel to the Festival.
Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts and Producer of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival says, “In any inequitable society it is imperative that knowledge is available free of cost as it alone can bring about social change. At The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival we work with our partners Pratham Books and The Yuva Ekta Foundation to reach out to young people across the economic spectrum and bring to them world-class writers and their ideas.”
Youth Outreach Workshops with The Yuva Ekta Foundation.
The Yuva Ekta Foundation, a not for profit Trust working at the intersection of Youth and Governance, has been facilitating the Festival’s Youth Outreach program for 10 years now. With a core vision of Equity and Social Justice, the Youth Outreachprogram seeks to integrate underprivileged youth in Rajasthan with their more privileged counter parts, thereby creating opportunities of mutual learning and creative exchange. Each year a new theme is chosen, and using the Social Arts as a medium, the participants are encouraged to explore and ideate with young people from different realities with whom they spend the next 10 days, thereby providing further food for thought.
The theme for 2017 runs parallel to the Festival and focuses on the “Freedom to Dream”. With workshops beginning on 10thJanuary, the participants of the workshop will explore their ideas and work with their counterparts as they get to know each other. A total of 54 participants (29 participants from Schools and 25 participants from NGOs) will be part of Theatre based intensive workshops at Jayshree Periwal High School from 10th- 17th January, 2017 where they will together explore the theme using Expressive Arts.
The workshops will culminate in a street play that is performed in 10 different schools as part of the School Outreach programme as well as at several locations and in Jaipur and at the Festival grounds. It will be an interactive performance wherein the participants will engage in discussion with the host school students post performance.
Over the years the Youth Outreach programme has focused on subjects as diverse as ‘Hands on Habitat’ in 2008 focused on environmental and sustainable development, ‘iPartner Citizenship’ in 2009, which sparked social connect and active participation by young people in community issues. The year 2010 focused on ‘Being Human’, exploring different facets of Humanism which was carried forward in 2011 with a focus on ‘Building Bridges’ between people from vastly different walks of life. Other themes have included ‘Democracy Dialogues’ in 2012, ‘Myself, My World- a Search for Identity’ in 2013, ‘Freedom of Expression’ in 2014, ‘Gender Justice’ in 2015 and ‘Finding Me’ in 2016
In the past decade the Youth Outreach has spawned some heartwarming memories of young girls like Foranta Devi from Tilionia, who stayed bashful and shy in her ghunghat for the first 3 days of the workshop, but on the final day was on stage, singing confidently about the importance of educating girls in her village. The sentiment was echoed by the Muslim girls from Digantar fiercely narrating their ongoing struggle with their families and community, seeking permission to continue their studies beyond Class 8, an eye opener for many present.
Walls of Rural/ Urban, Privileged/ Marginalized dissolving, perceptions changing about the “other” as they break boundaries, reject stereo types, even raise their own aspirations listening to their peers – it has been a fascinating journey for all as they connected with each other through love and trust. As one young student summed it up – “If there’s anything better than being loved, it is loving!”
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NOTES TO MEDIA PERSONS
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About the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017
Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free event of its kind.
The past decade has seen the Festival host 1300 speakers and welcome nearly 1.2 million book lovers.
Celebrating writers from across the globe, past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners to debut writers including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eleanor Catton, Hanif Kureishi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan, J.M. Coetzee, Mohammed Hanif, Oprah Winfrey, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Salman Rushdie, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, Vikram Seth and Wole Soyinka along with renowned Indian language writers such as Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Uday Prakash as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy.
Writers and Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple invite speakers to take part in the five-day programme set against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur.
Equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins, placing some of the world’s greatest minds, humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers from all walks of life together on stage. This free and egalitarian access to these renowned thinkers and writers is a powerful statement in a country where access to such individuals remains the privilege of a few. The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival provides a potentially life-changing opportunity for audiences from Rajasthan, across India and the world to learn from and exchange ideas with contemporary literary stalwarts.
The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally, and is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy.
In 2014, ZEE JLF spread its wings beyond the borders of India with an annual event in May in London. In 2015, it headed across the pond to Boulder, Colorado where it hosts a similar event every September.
About Teamwork Arts
For over 25 years, Teamwork Arts has taken India to the world and brought the world to India.
In countries such as Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Israel, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA, Teamwork produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities.
Teamwork Arts produces one of the world’s largest free literary gatherings, the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, theIshara International Puppet Festival in New Delhi, the annual Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival, international festivals Shared History in South Africa, Eye on India in the United States of America, India by the Bay in Hong Kong, Confluence- Festival of India in Australia, and many more.