Sriram is building a new generation of empathetic and curious young people by systematically integrating arts-inspired empathy into the schools systems in some of the poorest districts in the country. Through introducing innovative art programs into government schools, Sriram’s foundation, NalandaWay, works with children to shed their inhibitions and past baggage to move towards a more empathetic and tolerant future.
In order to engage with children on a long term basis and gain measurable impact, all interventions are concentrated in Tamil Nadu. NalandaWay has partnered with government schools to implement its plug and play arts program that promotes activity based learning, which has been proven to reduce disruptive behavior, dropout rates and absenteeism. Being age independent, each class of 60 minutes combines art, craft, music, storytelling and drama developing the child’s imagination, creativity and expression, and building capacities for better understanding of literacy and logic. Beyond the arts program, Sriram also hosts camps, labs and festivals throughout the year to further inspire creative thinking and cross cultural understanding.
Over 17,000 children have benefited from NalandaWay’s programs since its inception in 2002. The arts program has been implemented in 156 schools in Tamil Nadu with more than 1000 teachers trained in the methodology. All the schools who have participated in the program have observed improvements with drop out rates, absenteeism and students behaviours. Furthermore, NalandaWay has inspired other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir to pilot similar art focused programs in schools.
While he first began building empathy in marginalized children through mentorship, Sriram now provides the larger resource of an arts education in addition to emotional development. Sriram aims to have the NalandaWay arts program instituted in all schools across India and he is constantly thinking of new strategies to inspire creativity and tolerance. Today, he is striving to stay true to his mission to build a more curious and empathetic world.
This profile was updated in September 2014. Read on for election profile.