Project Kayakalp by Enactus Shri Ram College of Commerce

Project Kayakalp aims to empower traditional puppeteers and expand their income generation possibilities by making their art relevant to contemporary audiences.

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IN India
Web http://enactussrcc.org/projects/kayakalp/
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About the project Edit

Project Kayakalp initiated in 2012 aims to empower traditional puppeteers and expand their income generation possibilities by making their art relevant to contemporary audiences and capitalising on unexplored markets. Kayakalp works with 14 puppeteers from Kathputli colony, Shadipur district, New Delhi. The project seeks to conceptualise shows on contemporary themes and use the medium of puppetry to convey socially relevant messages.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Project Kayakalp is an initiative to revive the dying art form of puppetry.The endeavour aspires to set the stage for these preservers of Indian heritage to display their forte in full fervour, hoping to empower the community with new found certainty and faith in their creative art form.
With increasing competition from new forms of art, the demand for puppetry is on a decline. Thus creative efforts are made to blend modern puppetry with traditional puppetry. The puppeteers use modern props, face masks and muppets along with the age old string puppets to create a unique fusion of conventional and contemporary entertainment. This project is unique because theme based puppet shows is a service provided only by our puppeteers.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Project Kayakalp is an endeavour to revive the age old tradition of puppetry. The social impact of our project is directed towards enhancing the standard of living of traditional puppeteers and reviving their art form. The project aims to make them independent and inculcate in them an entrepreneurial outlook, which will is achieved through personality development sessions and one-to-one interaction with third parties. These sessions aim to improve the puppeteers’ communication, language and marketable skills. They focus on enabling them to contact different organisations themselves and secure contracts. The traditional art form of puppetry has been given a new lease in an attempt to preserve India’s rich culture and heritage. The puppeteers now exude self confidence and surety about what they strive to achieve.

The art form of puppetry has been developed into a medium to sensitize children on pertinent social and environmental issues.Theme – based puppet shows is a unique service provided only by puppeteers from Project Kayakalp, which have successfully helped us to tap into newer markets. So far, shows have been performed at Dilli Haat and for the Rotary Clubs. The artists have also performed at corporate houses such as Bain and Company and Moserbaer. We have partnered with the CSR wings of various companies and perform shows under their campaigns. Shows on the theme of 'Health and Nutrition' have been performed at schools across Delhi-NCR as a part of PVR Nest's 'Healthy Children Happy Children' campaign and at various NGOs in partnership with Max India Foundation. The show on the theme of 'Road Safety' has also been performed in various schools across Delhi-NCR for PVR Nest's ' Steer to Safety' campaign. We have also performed shows for Yes Bank on the theme of youth being ambassadors of change in today’s world.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

In India, people spend close to 5% of their incomes on entertainment. Puppetry is not only a vibrant component of the entertainment industry but is also an effective mode of communication. Shows can be performed at a number of platforms such as schools, cultural hubs and NGOs, catering to respective demand. Through our puppet shows we strive to spread relevant social messages in an entertaining and effective manner. We have partnered with the CSR wings of various companies like PVR Cinemas, Max India, Yes Bank and perform shows under their campaigns.
Additionally, stalls for the sale of puppetry merchandise are set up to augment the artists' income. Stalls have been set up at cultural associations, fairs and college festivals. The puppeteers also undertake puppet-making workshops at schools and art centres. Different modules suitable for various age groups have been developed. These include bottle puppets, sock puppets and Bunraku puppets.
Currently 14 puppeteers are working with Kayakalp and we aim to expand by including more artists in the ambit of our project.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Project Kayakalp was initiated because puppetry which is an integral component of India’s rich culture and heritage has seen a downward gradient in this age of globalisation and westernization with the emergence of contemporary forms and mediums of entertainment, such as television, cinema, radio etc. This led to a decline in regular demand, which resulted in low and unstable income and compelled them to depend on loans with exorbitant interest rates, which led to debt traps. The problem of competition within the community had also aggravated as a result of the same. In addition, the puppeteers lacked exposure to potential opportunities and markets and were devoid of much needed professional guidance and training due to which they were unable to innovate with scripts and develop and conceptualize new shows which appealed to the contemporary audience. The puppeteers also had been unable to market their art form to hit their untapped markets due to lack of confidence and incapability to communicate effectively. The project aims to fight against these challenges faced by the puppeteers by supporting them and providing them with new platforms to showcase their talent.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

We have adopted a five step business model. First, low-income artists are identified through extensive surveys and community mobilization activities. Second, the artists are trained in areas of puppet manipulation and script building, under the guidance of experts to polish their existing skills. Third, the demand avenues are identified and tapped, in order to build a sustainable clientele. Fourth is shows are performed and stalls set up to ensure stable income. Some of the profits are ploughed back for future investments. Steps are taken to ensure recognition for the brand Kayakalp. Fifth, holistic development of the artists is ensured through sessions in personality development and spoken English. They also interact with third parties on a one-to-one basis.
Our ultimate goal is to organize the artists into a puppet theatre group which will help them to reap the benefits of an organizational structure such as collective bargaining and financial stability. Eventually, we will step out of the project after ensuring the establishment of a self-sustainable model for the puppeteers.


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