By Ayesha Thatte
Ayesha started The Rhythm Project when she was in grade 11. At that time, she was interning with ‘Protsahan’ (a Hindi word for encouragement), a non-government organization (NGO) that aims to educate, heal, and empower girls from lesser-privileged and/or abusive homes. As part of her internship, she researched and developed therapy modules incorporating the creative arts (dance, music, fine arts) and meditation. In the process of observing the therapy sessions at the NGO, she noticed a lack of resources that were needed to carry out the sessions — stuff like laptops, speakers, guidebooks. That’s when Ayesha decided to carry out a fundraiser to raise money for the NGO to buy those essential resources. Her mentor at Protsahan guided her through the process.
Ayesha used the crowdfunding platform which was called BitGiving which helped her reach a wide audience. She circulated the project in her social networks, from which people shared it further; ultimately the Rhythm Project reached its goal of Indian rupees 100,000 (US$1420).
But it wasn’t simple. Like any other project, the first step for her was to identify a problem that she could work on and solve. The scarcity of resources that the organization faced was clearly visible to Ayesha as she, as an intern, observed the daily work and routine of the workers. The next step was to brainstorm ways to solve the problem. One option was to use social media to spread awareness about the need of the NGO, and then continue with her initial internship work of designing modules. The other option that Ayesha’s mentor strongly encouraged her to explore was to raise funds as part of her internship and make a direct impact. Ayesha decided to take on the task and started putting her thoughts and actions together. With support and help from many people who joined Ayesha in her impact movement journey, a project design emerged and she was able to successfully finish what she started out to achieve — a successful impact project.
The Rhythm Project helped Ayesha step out of her comfort zone. She learned how to communicate with people and expand her network, influence a community to contribute to a social-impact project. She transformed strangers into partners and rallied to build her project into a cause that was shared by many. This is leadership. This is advocacy. This is standing up to do your bit. The Rhythm Project went far and beyond in shaping Ayesha’s future and her personality to continue to do many amazing things with confidence and camaraderie. Ayesha is now pursuing her study-abroad program. She is also working on her new project idea for the Big Picture Project which you can also apply for here.
This project was part of the Big Picture Project’s pilot.