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Theatre non-profit raises funds for people with disabilities

Theatre non-profit raises funds for people with disabilitiesTheatre
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Theatre For A Cause has promised to feed a PwD family for every performance video they receive as part of a challenge

The coronavirus crisis has affected all walks of life, but among the hardest hit are people with disabilities (PwD), many of who are struggling for even the most essential services. India-based Theatre For A Cause, a non-profit organization that harnesses the power of music and theatre, is raising funds for ration kits for people with disabilities, along with engaging communities in acts of singing, acting and dancing.

Co-founded by entrepreneur and actor Vandana Munjal; educationist, philanthropist and singer Radhika Bharat Ram; and director and producer Ritu R Chandra, Theatre For A Cause (TFAC) is raising Rs 10 lakh to distribute ration kits to PwD families.

It is doing so through its TFAC Challenge, where people can upload videos of singing, acting, dancing or reciting a song from any musical, till May 18. For every video they post, TFAC said it will give ration to feed a family of 4 for 1 month through the help of their donors. So far, people have sent in their videos from places as far off as Panama, Honduras, Peru, Paraguay, Spain, Denmark, Philippines, China, Myanmar, Thailand and many more. As per TFAC, this highlights the power of music to unite humanity across borders.

"We usually look at art as means of entertainment, but it is during these difficult times of isolation that we realise its true potential to connect souls and spread positivity and cheer. At a time when auditoriums are empty and stage performances have been canceled worldwide, we have seen that art and music is flourishing more than ever, as a way to heal, connect and express oneself.

"Videos posted from Italy, Spain, India and all over the world have shown that music is a great way to uplift the spirits and connect humanity during these tough times," TFAC core member Vandana Munjal, who is married to Hero EV MD Naveen Munjal, told.

On their latest initiative to assist the PwD, Munjal said: "Despite the government and efforts made by various NGOs, people with disabilities are largely unable to avail of the assistance being provided".

The group has been performing musicals, with live singing, dancing and gripping storylines since 2016, and raising funds for social causes through theatre. How can theatre help in these trying times? "Theatre helps you discover yourself and tap into your emotional intelligence. In today's world where EQ is more important than IQ, theatre helps us use our emotional intelligence as a reserve to manage effective relationships, conflict resolution and gives us the ability to become better leaders. It is, in so many ways, the driver of success. Theatre demands commitment and helps you become creative thinkers. Adaptability and flexibility, traits a theatre actor learns are skills that are the need of the hour."

"Theatre also has the profound ability to engage us immediately in another person's existence. It breaks down barriers and allows one to become someone else and see life from a different perspective thereby broadening your horizons," Munjal said.

Finally, how can corporate patronage aid the flourishing of theatre as an art form, and a powerful medium of communication?

Apart from enriching cultural experiences and showcase philantropathic engagement, Munjal says the corporates can benefit by "being seen as a promoter of art in times where deeper cultural engagement and connection with the community is being valued more than ever. Such engagement opens the opportunities for companies to stand out in the eyes of consumers, employees and investors and have a positive impact on their own company culture. Corporates can also sponsor theatre to highlight their own CSR activities or draw attention to various causes they believe in."

"Now, as we have seen, in this time of crisis and isolation, the role of art has become even more central to our lives. We hope to see more corporate patronage in times to come," she signs off. Over the years, TFAC has worked closely with Azad Foundation's Women on Wheels programme that empowers resource-poor women to become professional drivers; and with CAPED, Cancer Awareness, Prevention and Early Detection.

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