With the onset of COVID and subsequent school closures in 2020, Pratham Digital launched a unique remote-learning initiative on WhatsApp, ‘Karona, Thodi Masti, Thodi Padhai’ (KTMTP). The aim was to engage children in various activities that involved a mix of school-based learning (Padhai) and fun learning (Masti). The initiative reached over 12,000+ communities with the help of 600+ partners in over 25 states across India.

Going forward, this initiative has evolved to incorporate a more comprehensive approach to creative learning through the ‘PraDigi Creativity Club’, which aims to help youth and children to think critically, understand real-world problems logically, and come up with creative solutions.

Marking a year since the launch of KTMTP and to announce the PraDigi Creativity Club, PraDigi conducted a series of virtual events in five languages. These events consisted of keen discussions on the impact of KTMTP with our partners, exciting performances by national/local artists, and children revisiting the artwork they did under the KTMTP initiative, along with insightful conversations on what creativity means.

Children from multiple cities joined and showcased their creative skills. Dr. Rukmini Banerji, CEO, Pratham Education Foundation, also talked to children and motivated them to continue learning and being creative.

Continuing to motivate children, Dr. Madhav Chavan, Co-founder, Pratham Education Foundation also shared his thoughts on what creativity means today. “Creative things aren’t made in the sky! Creativity is only about changing perspective towards what's already in front of you. It’s about applying your experience, vision and thoughts and being persistent and excited about creating something new every day”, explained Dr. Chavan.

Karona, Thodi Masti, Thodi Padhai helped children in making the best use of their time at home. One of PraDigi’s partners, Ashwini, Coordinator, Makkala Jagriti described how relationships between mothers and children were strengthened, and how fathers were actively participating in children’s activities as they were working from home. Given the stressful environment we all were in (and still are), these creative tasks helped in creating a positive environment for children. “Children who earlier found reasons to not study started finding it lucrative and engaging,” shared Vidushi Singhal, Academic Head, Modicare Foundation. This platform served to ensure that creativity becomes a part of all teaching processes along with school-learning so that children continue to have fun while studying. “It was amazing how without communicating what the art comprises, children got the pattern, and that’s the beauty of art. It’s so instinctive,” said Avehi Menon, Archive Director, Sarmaya Arts Foundation.

From storytelling and freestyle football to folk music and classical dance, our collaboration with various local artists created a fun and eventful evening for our Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Hindi and English audiences in the first week of April 2021. Building on the theme of the events, the regional artists also talked about the importance of creativity in their lives, amplifying the conversation to newer depths.

Acclaimed Gujarati singer, Ishani Dave emphasised the role of parents in child’s development and how being creative helped her in pursuing both her education and passion. In the art of singing Ishani said "Je riyaj kare te raj kare" which means, to become the master you need to practice well. "Everyone has some skills. We need to identify it, give an opportunity to your creativity and enhance it," shared Rinku Deriya, a Gujarati-folk artist. “Even teaching the same math sums every day requires creativity. It’s not something that only artists possess, but everyone has it,” shared Raman Iyer, a storyteller from Mumbai.

More artists in the event including Akshay Yadav, a football freestyler from Mumbai and Chaitanya Gokhale, a calligraphy professional from New Delhi shared their journey of choosing an unconventional career path. They encouraged parents to let children find their own path and support them. One of the child artists at the event, Meher Kumar, a 9-year-old performer, sang a self-composed song with the message, "it is okay if you don’t want to study. Do what you want to do and be the best at it." The Program Lead at Pratham Education Foundation, Renu Seth said -- “‘why’ - the question that we get tired of answering when children ask, don't stop this 'why'. We must encourage children to question everything.”

Not only the artists but partners also joined the conversation on creativity. “For children to grow and learn, we should give them an opportunity and space to think and be creative,” said Keshav Chatterjee, Director, Prabhat Education Foundation. By doing so, they’ll learn more about their field of choice and enable them to find professional and educational opportunities that leverage creativity. “Children start to learn by being creative and it must continue,” added Sucheta Raval from Jumbish. Creativity is a trial and error method, you learn by doing it every day because it is unique, it’s your own mind’s creation.

The conclusion of the launch of PraDigi Creativity Club witnessed a success in 5 languages for now, and more are on the way. It was an amazing union of individuals from different spheres of the country who came together for the common cause of encouraging creativity amongst children and youth. The launch of the Creativity Club was a reflection of PraDigi’s overall approach to creative learning which follows an Ex-Framework: (a) Expose: Learning by observing; (b) Explore: Learning by engaging; (c) Experiment: Learning by doing; (d) Exchange: Learning by sharing.

With this approach to creativity, PraDigi aims to spark creative and critical thinking among children, and give them the freedom to explore creative avenues right at their fingertips. With this outlook to creativity, PraDigi aims to spark creative and critical thinking among children, and give them the freedom to explore creative avenues right at their fingertips. Together we are fostering a network of learners with common interest areas to share, discuss and collaborate on new ideas. It’s about time that we build a culture of learning supported by communities, parents, schools, and teachers which extends beyond the boundaries of curriculum and classroom.

Learn more about the PraDigi Creativity Club here and subscribe to the PraDigi Creativity Club in your regional language.

About the Author

Vani Jindal is currently working with the Digital Innovations team at Pratham. She is passionate about social impact and aims to do community building and storytelling by growing the organisation’s digital footprint. She enjoys playing instruments in her free time.