'If you can catch their imaginations, you can change their lives' Praveen, Salaam Baalak Trust
2010: Artreach grew out of an exuberant mural painting project with Salaam Baalak Trust at the New Delhi station. Our first project, what we later called a Volunteer Residency, was with the children of the New Delhi railway station who come every day to a Salaam Baalak Trust 'contact point' for food, medical attention and basic schooling. We wanted to help give their space a face lift and to ‘catch their imaginations’. With artist Alexis Halliwell at the helm we embarked on ten days of exuberant creative activity. Children’s tired faces would light up with delight as they walked in to the centre, clocked what was happening and entered the fray with paint brush or roller. Sometimes they just couldn’t stop and the paint overflowed, on to the cooler or the ceiling, on to each other. Anyone was welcome to join in: teachers and social workers, passing police men. The final outcome was a rather magnificent tiger and a jungle of other animals. 'They come up the stairs, so scared in their hearts as they see the police station, then their fear disappears as they see the paintings… they think: "This is a place that will do something for children"' Makaan Singh, a social worker at the contact point, explained how the new boys at the centre reacted to Artreach's first mural.
2015: Artreach India registered as a charitable trust in New Delhi and, under the visionary directorship of Deeksha Nath, launched the first Teaching Fellowship and the Community Arts programme.
2016: The first Artroom worskhops took place for graduates of the Teaching Fellowship.
2019: Artreach has a dedicated staff of three in Delhi and associates in Jaipur and Mumbai, as well as mentors across the globe. We are proud of the way our programmes have developed from our original model of engagement - a short term Volunteer Residency - to sustained interactions which aim to create long-term life changing impact.