Faith Gonsalves is best known for founding the project, “Music Basti” in 2008. Music Basti connects at-risk children, youth and artists with the aim to inspire growth and build a sense of community through creative and joyful music learning experiences. Faith is also director of Enabling Leadership.
She explains in her linkedin profile that ‘Enabling Leadership as “a global for-purpose not-for-profit that uses creative mediums like football and music to develop critical leadership skills among children attending under-resourced schools.”
This NGO with a difference has worked with children in slums through community music projects to create learning and exposure opportunities. Music is a medium that opens up people, makes them lose their inhibitions and transforms them till they are ready to explore an entirely new world. Intelligently used, music can be the ideal learning tool.
This is exactly what Faith Gonsalves was confident about achieving. There are several scientific studies that have been conducted around the world that establish the link between learning and the effect of music on the cognitive processes of children. But despite that, music is rarely used as a medium that can be used to teach. Faith has tried to change that.
Faith set up Music Basti while still a history honours student at Lady Shri Ram in the capital. It was a collaborative project that had several other musically inclined volunteers chipping in. But while each went their own way once college was over, Faith soldiered on. And ever since, Music Basti has been giving music training, along with lyric-writing coupled with performances to the underprivileged.
In an interview with yourstory.com, Faith said her programme was essential, “Because responsible educators today cannot and should not be ignoring the evidence that music and arts programmes have shown across the world that it supports cognitive development, social and emotional skills learning and promotes academic excellence for children. There are clear connections we can see between long-term music learning and group music learning programmes with developing motor skills, memory and recall, math and reading skills, as well as enhanced self-confidence and esteem, communication abilities, concentration and overall academic excellence.”
To this end, she established ReSound, through which some 850 students created and composed songs about their dreams, ideas and communities. Faith found incredible change in the kids’ confidence and teamwork. “Our teachers observed positive growth among students in areas of leadership, discipline, responsibility and respect for others,” says Faith.
Faith’s experience with slum children only goes to prove that children are keen to learn everywhere, whether in a fancy school or in the slums. They just need the right connection and environment, and music can create that right connection.
Faith deserves a round of applause, you will agree!