The Kids Postcard Project collaborates mainly with two organizations, A.A.W.C. working with women and children in Mumbai's red light district, and O.D.A. a grass-roots arts and educational home in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Who are they?
Kids Postcard Project has collaborated with A.A.W.C. Mumbai since 2007, doing yearly art projects with the girls and taking them on field trips, like the one above, to draw the Mumbai skyline at sunset on Chawpatty beach.
Apne Aap Women's Collective do outreach work in one of the oldest and largest red light districts in Asia. The lanes of Kamathipura and Falkland Road are infamous, A.A.W.C. has centers in both areas. Young women trafficked into the brothels come from neighboring states and countries. They often end up having children, who live with them in the brothels. A.A.W.C. work to support the women and assist their children getting education and work outside of the area. They operate three programs:-
Umeed, working with women (18+) in brothel-based prostitution. Udaan, working with their daughters and other girls living in the red light area (5-18) and Umang, for the toddlers (2 to 5)
A.A.W.C. help empower the women to create a better quality of life and prevent their children from entering the cycle of prostitution. Since 1998 they've served more than 2800 women and children. Their beneficiaries have gone on to earn Bachelors and Masters degrees and work in respected professions.
Their director, Manju Vyas, has been with A.A.W.C. since the very beginning, in 1998. Through her dedication and determination they were able to open a second center right in the middle of Kamathipura.
Kids Postcard Project works with the girls of the Udaan program (age 9 - 16) in both centers, who apply themselves with great joy and delight to our drawing projects each year. Since 2015 we have partnered with National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, to take a group of our girls drawing in the museum galleries.
In April 2009 the Kids Postcard Project started a second collaboration, with the teenagers of O.D.A. an arts and educational home inside the Angkor Archaeological Park.
The founder, Leng Touch is an accomplished artist who was orphaned by the Khmer Rouge. Since 2003 he and his wife have run O.D.A. (Opportunities of Development through Art) providing a home for an ever increasing number of disadvantaged children age 4 - 19 years old, teaching them watercolor painting and drawing as well as English language and computer skills in addition to their public schooling.
O.D.A. also provides free English language learning to children in outlaying villages. They have built eight rural English schools including kindergartens, giving poor local children greater employment opportunities in the nearby tourist industry in Siem Reap.
Kids Postcard Project had worked with the boys and girls of O.D.A. (age 8- 18) setting themes that challenge their regular perception of art, and taking them on outings to draw outside their usual environment. Our most exciting outing was to draw the bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat, which, although it is on their doorstep, they had never visited. Another great adventure was going to draw the rarely visited Ramayana murals inside Wat Bo in Siem Reap.
In 2012 Kids Postcard Project was invited by Kenro Izu, photographer and founder of Angkor Hospital for Children, to do a three year retrospective of the O.D.A. kids art at the Visitors Gallery of A.H.C. It was a great occasion and the first time the children saw their work in a gallery. From the sales we raised enough funds to help O.D.A. build their own onsite Palapa Art Gallery.
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