Unfortunately Culturama has come to a close, after hours and hours of practicing and perfecting each move we as a group finally performed in front of the much anticipated 300 people. Going through the experience of Culturama made a more sociable person overall, I not only made new and closer friendships with those who are in my grade but, I also managed to close knit friendships with those in the grades above and below me.
Originally, I was afraid my stage fright would get the better of me and performing in front of a large number of people would cause me to forget the steps. However, what I found was that I am actually quite good at dealing with performing infront of a large group of people, I managed to remember all the steps from both my dances and I successfully did both dances.
During dress rehearsals I figured out another obstacle I had to overcome, this was changing in between dances. I was in the USA dance as well as the India dance, this meant I had to change in between, however, the most difficult thing was that there was only one 3 minute dance in the middle of both the dances I was in. Which in essence meant I had little over 3 minutes to change out of my India costume and into my USA costume. In one of the runs I was not able to change in time and get across to the other end of the stage to enter and this resulted in me not performing during that run. Due to that debacle the entire show day was an extremely stressful time.
After finishing this years Culturama, it has made me even more excited to take part in next years. Luckily I gained a skill during this time, I was able to smartly deduce what to wear first and where to put my costumes to ensure I get changed before the dance begins. This years Culturama introduced new difficulties and weaknesses on my part but, after completing Culturama I feel as though I have acquired new skills and if in the future I am to do something of this sort again I will be prepared and the overall stress I will face will be less
In my opinion the most thought provoking and simulating session was the Jah and Kay simulation. It really opened our minds and increased ur awareness about the world around us.
Two weeks ago we had our first session with the MINDS group, they work with mentally disabled people and help them integrate within society. Prior to our first session there were a lot guidelines we were given in relation to how we treat the people who are coming. Our aim is to connect with them and build a relationship without intentionally offending them or making them feel as though they are different.
These people go through enough as it is trying to integrate within society, it is our job as their service partners to make them feel welcome without making them feel vulnerable. It would be ethically wrong to treat them any different but, we do need to keep in mind that they are different in some ways and there are some things we need to do to ensure both their safety and comfortability and our own. Our behaviour with them must be welcoming but also shouldn’t give them the impression that the way they treat us is the way they can treat everyone they meet.
It is very enlightening to be a part of this service as we are able to open our minds as to how everybody is different but, we can all dance and listen to music and that something all of us in that room have in common.
For the past 5 years every weekend from 9am to 12am I have a little escape from my busy everyday life. I am able to just sit down and enter my creative world where I am allowed to paint, draw, sculpt anything I wish to. Each month we are given a specific medium and theme we are meant to work with, these themes are usually very broad and allow us to dive into our own interpretations of these themes. Our latest theme was “Wonders” it could be with nature, technology, animals, pretty much anything you’d wish for it to be. My topic for this was the wonders of nature, I find it very fascinating that flowers grow in such symmetrical beautiful ways and I planned to demonstrate the beauty of a flower through sculpting it.
I originally planned to create a bouquet of flowers to show the different beauties but, I realised that creating so many flowers wouldn’t be wise as I wouldn’t be able to show accurately the beauty of each so I settled for just doing one. Just last lesson as I was doing the hand and flower to signify the coexistence between humans and nature the attachment between the hand and flower faltered and left the hand broken off from the flower. After a long time looking for a solution I asked my teacher what I should do, she told me I should assemble it again with the same plaster but this time I should leave it for about 15-20 minutes to ensure its stability. I am glad I didn’t give up because if I did there would really be no point in doing art. Art is a form of expression that allows for a lot of mistakes but also allows for a lot of critical thinking which forces the artist to come up with solutions.
It is now successfully attached together !
In an effort to increase my self defence skills and fitness levels, I joined Boxing and Muay Thai. Much to my surprise the sessions have been very productive and I already feel as though I have learnt a lot. Of course, I am not at the level at which I can defend myself extremely well but, if I continue at this level of productivity I can get to the point where I am confident.
It has been quite tough and often I feel as though it is too much and I often feel like giving up however, in my head I know I must continue and I shouldn’t let the difficulty get to me and I should persevere. I also know in my head that working at it is what will get me to my desired fitness level, and working hard is what will help me get more confident. If I give up when I start feeling as though it is difficult it will not help me in any way, and I might as well not go.
I hope that through countless sessions and perseverance I will achieve my goal of staying fit and active whilst still focusing on my education and also balancing that with my service participation and creative outlets. I look forward to seeing the person I am after the year of boxing and muay thai.
CultuRama is an event held every year in honor of the many cultures and nationalities present in our school. It’s purpose it to show a panorama of cultures, hence the name CultuRama. It launched the year I entered UWC and I have aspired to take part in it ever since. I think CultuRama is a great opportunity for people to form new friendships whilst enjoying themselves and expressing themselves through dance.
This year, I am lucky enough to be taking part in not one but two CultuRama dances. I feel as though dancing is something that is not only enjoyable for the people watching but also, incredibly enjoyable for the people actually doing it. For this edition of CultuRama, I am representing India and USA. So far, my CultuRama experience has been very fruitful, every rehearsal has furthered my knowledge of the dances and made me more excited for the final day. However, I am quite nervous for the real day because, as committed as I am during the preparation stage I fear that on the real day my stage fright may come in the way. A huge disadvantage for me would be forgetting the steps on the actual day which could hinder my experience and also those in my dance.
I hope that through the countless practices we have, even if I do forget muscle memory will help me and prevent any onstage embarrassment. It helps a lot to be organised and committed during the preparation stages, which is conveniently one of my strengths. I am definitely looking forward to the actual performance.
Recently, during one of our sessions we were asked to put ourselves outside our comfort zone and speak in front of a group of 30 people, in an effort to enhance our public speaking skills. I found this particular activity/exercise incredible impactful. Our topic of conversation was “what we are passionate about” this was a question that meant different things to different people. I believe that our passions are very varied and it was very interesting to hear about what the people in my particular group were passionate about.
These topics varied from speeches about gender equality, to speeches about making speeches itself. Through this exercise I believe we as potential peace makers got a feel of what it will actually be like on the day, we were able to practice and strengthen our confidence in front of groups of people. In this case we were quite lucky because we were asked to speak in front of people we already know however, during the IFP conferences we will not be given that luxury of speaking confidently in front of people we know.
When I first started speaking I was quite nervous and very much looking forward to finishing the task off but, as I spoke more and more I got more and more confident in myself and what I was saying. My voice slowly started to stop shaking. This was the case for a lot of the people who came up to speak, upon starting off they were nervous and unsure of what they were saying but, as time went on they started to find their train of thought and were able to get the message they intended to get across, across. For further improvement of this very challenging yet rewarding activity I hope to have more time to present as I noticed that a minute was too little time for many of us to deliver the message we intended to deliver.
What community do they support?
They empower people with intellectual disabilities and their families, to help them unlock their potential and fulfil their aspiration.
Why is there a need for this support?
There is a need for this support because these people deserve to be empowered no matter what disabilities they have, and their aspirations shouldn’t be hindered because they are disabled people. This also helps them gain exposure to the outside world enabling them to grow as people.
How are they providing support?
They provide education, social, vocational and psychological needs for both children and adults. There are different programs for different age groups. Such as: Arts & Crafts, Domestic Science, Mathematics, Health Education, Music & Movement, Social competence, Social Studies, and General Science.
How does this align with sustainable development?
This group allows these people to access their full potential, this in turn reducing inequality for the disabled, they also allow them to receive education, also giving them the ability to have good health and well-being.
What do you think you can learn from this partner and community?
I will learn how to interact and see beyond their physical and mental disabilities and treat them with respect. Hopefully by the end of this service I will be a more open-minded person.
Last Sunday (10th September 2017) I went to my first IFP conference. In the beginning I was quite apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect and what we would be doing. However as the day went on I started to like the whole idea of an IFP Conference. We are not there to come up with resolutions for world issues, we are there to make a live and actually visible difference to people’s understandings of words and phrases that correspond to everyday life.
The activity that got to me most was the activity we did in the “Violence” committee where we closed our eyes and stood in a circle and voiced our personal experiences with violence, and because everybody was blindfolded there was no chance for a feeling of judgement. It was a truly safe space which made me quite hopeful for the future of IFP, the fact that it can make someone who is quite closed off into someone who is comfortable enough to talk about personal experiences with serious issues like violence.
I was also impacted greatly by the “Discrimination” committee as it shed light on the fact that many stereotypes that were formed ages ago are still at work today. Stereotypes like woman are weaker, men can’t cry, woman can only be angry if it is “their time of the month”. It sparked something in me that made so aware of the fact that woman and men are still treated unequally to this day. We had an interesting conversation in my group about the media’s role in stereotypes and discrimination. I voiced my knowledge on the fact that most “women’s” magazines tend to have more articles on how to look better, how to clear skin, how to get a flat stomach. Whereas “men’s” magazines consisted of more interesting articles on how to build a boat, or how to make an app. I found this quite upsetting that woman’s magazines focused more on the looks, the exterior whereas, men’s magazines focused on furthering knowledge and learning new things. Woman are obviously more than just their looks.
This conference made a lasting impact on me and sparked an interest in me that is making me proud to be a part of this “Initiative For Peace” movement. I want to make a change to people’s lives and their views on certain issues in order to make them more open-minded to help build amore accepting and safer environment for all.