This is a special space – one where the team of teachers, staff, children, alumni, partners and customers use their colours, shiny sequins and pompoms to talk about their art ideas, stories, triumphs as well as challenges. This is the voice of Art for Akanksha.

These are a few of my favorite things!

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“Is it a credit card? Is it a coaster? No, it’s a pen drive!

This pen drive is unlike any other – unique in every way. With its fascinating shape and beautiful patterns, this pen drive has left many people staring at it in awe. Not only does it have an intelligent and wonderful design, but it also has an extremely interesting way of working. Figuring out how to use it is like an exciting little mystery – a mystery that I absolutely adore.”

Tanisha Nalavadi, 16 years


Styrofoam Printing

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Hey parents, here is an interesting activity to do with your children, we guarantee loads of fun! And all it will take is a bit of imagination and some colors!

Suitable for 5 to 8 year olds

Material needed:

  • Cartridge paper
  • Styrofoam bowls
  • Pencils that are blunt
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Rough paper/ newspaper
  • styrofoam printing










Begin by showing them a print that you have made! Ask them to guess how it was made. Sometimes things look very complicated but they really are not!


Let the child take the Styrofoam bowl and with a pencil (which is not too sharp) draw flowers on them. They have to put a little pressure on the bowl so that it leaves an impression. They should fill the entire space with design leaving a few gaps here and there.

With a brush, apply paint on the design and gently place it on the paper. They will need to do this a few times before they get a hang of the process and the prints really start looking clear. Do a step by step demo so that the child understands.



Thoughts and after questions:

Did you think it would be so easy? What did you learn? This is called printing and it can be a lot of fun. Can you think of where you’ve seen printing? Clothes, books… there are so many examples, which you can show them to connect the dots!


The Art for Akanksha workshops create a common platform for children and adults from different sections of the society to interact with each other. The sessions empower each of them with the knowledge, that no matter how different they are, they have the same potential.

Boundary-less Art

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Six bright, enterprising Middle School students at ASB selected Art for Akanksha for their CSR project. They tried to understand some of the key issues faced by the organisation. They interacted with the team, alumni, and the art students and came up with solutions that helped AFA address some of these issues, particularly around social media outreach. Here’s an article from the group on what they felt after meeting Zeenat, an Art for Akanksha alumni.

Zeenat joined an Akanksha school when she was just eight years old and became a part of the art project at Akanksha (Art for Akanksha) at the age of ten. As she speaks of her experience at Art for Akanksha, she says, “I learnt that just like artists who can draw, paint, or create beautiful art, even we can express ourselves through art.” She believed that one doesn’t need to be a great artist to paint or create something big. Even a layman can draw the simplest of things. But these simple things can turn into wonderful creations only if we put in our wholehearted effort and determination. Zeenat’s confidence and belief in herself stood out for us.

Her art was a reflection of herself; it was a window for the world to see who she was and what she could do. “I use colours differently because I don’t want to do what everybody else is doing. Art has given me the confidence to express my feelings through colours.” We realised that art had not only boosted her confidence, but also opened up future opportunities for her. Armed with the knowledge of all the art that she’d been exposed to through the years and a sense of independence and increased self belief, she wants to become a famous fashion designer one day. Zeenat’s future was set in motion and we were excited for her!

Zeenat believes that being with the Akanksha program all these years has helped her get more clarity. “Because I know what I want to do with my future… It’s not important that I draw perfectly but it’s important that I am able to express my creativity.” Zeenat had managed to paint her future in front of our eyes… It was bright, colourful and boundary less.

We wish you the very best, Zeenat!



“Happiness Depends Upon Ourselves”

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Written by: Anoushka Agrawal

Story: Tanisha Nalavadi

Anoushka and Tanisha are young Art for Akanksha volunteers who’ve been with the organisation since they were 12 years old and have practically grown up with the Akanksha Art Lab students. Their love for art and their want and willingness to do something more keeps them connected to Akanksha in different ways.

Tanisha with the kids at Chidiyatapu

Aristotle once said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

What do the children coming from the low- income areas of Mumbai that are a part of Akanksha have in common with the children living in the little hamlet of Chidiyatapu in the Andaman’s? It’s simple – they both share an immense understanding of Aristotle’s quote.

This is something that leaves 16 year old Tanisha Nalavadi in awe. She wonders how children who don’t share even a quarter of the privileges and luxuries she lives with and who live in conditions far worse than those that she lives in would ever be, are always so happy, so enthusiastic, so excited.

Sitting on the warm sand of Chidiyatapu, next to the clear, blue ocean, gazing at the endless sky that bled wonderful shades of red during sunset, she finally understood. She finally realised how the children of Akanksha always bore an immensely positive, contagiously happy attitude. It was because they had everything that they wanted, desired nothing more. And to them, that was more than enough.

During her one month internship in Chidiyatapu, Tanisha met people she described as the kindest she had ever come across, much like the children she worked with during her experience at Akanksha. These were the children of the tiny village of Chidiyatapu.

She was to put up a play with those children, concerning the theme of litter and its effect on marine organisms. Since Chidiyatapu was an insignificant, minuscule area, no garbage trucks were sent to it by the government, which was the reason for the major build-up of litter. With Tanisha’s help, the children were able to put up a fabulous performance in their community hall, which had an impact not only on Tanisha and the entire community, but on the government officials as well. After watching the play, the government finally agreed to send garbage trucks to Chidiyatapu.

Working with each youth of Chidiyatapu, Tanisha realised that she was able to understand them and connect with them. She knew exactly how to get their attention and how to guide them, solely because of her experience at Akanksha. Because she had previously worked with the children of Akanksha, she found that working with the children of Chidiyatapu was so much easier. They were always so eager to help, and wanted to do rehearsal after rehearsal while preparing for the play even before Tanisha asked them to. Their enthusiasm and joy made her want to continue spending time with them and working on the play with them, even on the days she was the most tired, even in the sweltering heat of the scorching sun that always covered the beautiful Andaman Islands.

Just like the children of Akanksha, the children of Chidiyatapu were always smiling and were never seen to be even the least bit unhappy. Being around them, Tanisha couldn’t help but grin.

When I asked her what she felt was the biggest similarity between the two sets of children, she said two things – their eagerness and energy, and their enormous love for art. Both of them taught her much more than she could ever teach them, they inspired her far more than anyone else has. Along with them, she found that she could actually make a difference to the people around her, and, eventually, to the world.

Tanisha claims that the reason her experience at Chidiyatapu was the best one she had ever had was because of her experience at Akanksha, since she learned so much from the children there and was able to implement that learning while doing what she loved to do. Most of all, she learnt that, to be happy, all you had to do was love yourself and do what you love to do, and believe that that is enough.


Reaching Beyond

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Our installation is an elephant with wings of a butterfly. It has been made out of plastic bottles and used tubs. The animal is decorated with glitter, mirrors, gift papers, etc.

Our students brainstormed on ideas around feeling light, bright, free and reaching beyond. The elephant is a thinking creature and is among the most intelligent species. The wise elephant seems to be bogged down by the weight of limitations that surround him.

The butterfly is free and light but may have a tendency to become flighty and vapid. So our animal is a hybrid of an elephant and a butterfly representing freedom and astuteness to reach beyond all internal and external shackles.

The elephant symbolizes great strength and intelligence but it is grounded by societal dictates. The butterfly wings symbolizes freedom without judgment but together they form an animal with the ability to reach within and beyond. We think that the world will be a better place if each one of us reaches beyond caste, religion, borders, nations and limits in order to live a harmonious and productive life.  The installation is an emblem of our children’s wish to reach beyond what is expected from them.

Created by:
9 to 13 year olds of Dadabhai Navroji Mumbai Public School –
an MCGM school run in partnership with The Akanksha Foundation 

If you love the installations and the hard work put in by our children and teachers, do send us your picture with our installation and a line on why you like it to The best answers will win our art tiffin box filled with goodies. We’d love to feature you on our blog! 

Art Tiffin Box Give Away

Zoo Mania at Kalaghoda!

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The installation is the culmination of four animals – an elephant, butterfly, seahorse and a fish – creatures from water, land and air.

The installation shows the importance of every creature, be it as giant as an elephant or as small as a butterfly. Every creature’s role is very essential in the ecosystem and for its better functioning.

Created by:

8 to 12 year old students of
Mahalaxmi Mumbai Public School and 
Sitaram Mill Mumbai Public School –
MCGM schools run in partnership with The Akanksha Foundation 


Coming up: Reaching Beyond

If you love the installations and the hard work put in by our children and teachers, do send us your picture with our installation and a line on why you like it to The best answers will win our art tiffin box filled with goodies. We’d love to feature you on our blog! 

Art Tiffin Box Give Away