Faith Gonsalves, founder of Music Basti, first shared her startup experiences for our 1000 Stories Campaign

The Story Exchange, Music, Entertainment, India, Child, Poverty, Empowerment Faith Gonsalves grew up with music. Singing in the school choir taught her how to cooperate in a group, helped her relieve stress and most importantly, gave her irreplaceable friends. In 2008 she started Music Basti to pass on the gift of music. With the help of her friends and volunteers, she uses the medium to educate at-risk youth and street children in India and helps them build the skills of participation and inclusion along with protection, self-confidence and awareness.

Reason for starting
“Music Basti” was set up in 2008, to raise awareness on the situation of at-risk children in Delhi, India, through music projects led by youth and artists.

How do you define success?
Success will be a world where we are able to fulfill our vision, to live in a world where the voices of at-risk children and youth are heard through large scale civil society partnership and action, and are able to meaningfully impact our shared trajectory of making poverty history.

Read: Social Enterprise Gives Working Children a Place to Play

Biggest Success [pullquote]Poverty and its corollary powerlessness are overcome first by listening to the voices of the poor and their perspectives, aspirations and cultural identities. [/pullquote]
The biggest success of the project “Music Basti” since it was set up in 2008, is the continuity of majorly self-funded projects, led by a collective of artists and volunteers. Now, in 2013, the project has developed partnerships with companies and non-profit organizations that are helping shift the model from being in a large part self-funded, to funding activities with children, training for artists and volunteers, as well as research and documentation to highlight the impact of the music related projects, and their relevance to positively impacting mainstream educational priorities of the children involved as participants, and in lending to the overall development of life-skills (in particular, confidence and communication).

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
The foremost challenges in developing and implementing community arts projects focused on under-served communities, especially at-risk children and youth, include changing mindsets where the norm is to allow these communities to live on margins of society, economy, education and culture. The role and immense potential of youth-action is also not explored enough, and poses a great risk as well as asset. Poverty and its corollary powerlessness are overcome first by listening to the voices of the poor and their perspectives, aspirations and cultural identities. It is here that music finds great importance, and projects like “Music Basti” become relevant in sharing the voices of at-risk children and youth, in order to impact change in societal mindsets and also potentially at the level of government policy and action.

Watch how Music Basti does it.

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