Sunday, 6 October 2013

The 1000 Crane Project Chennai: Day 1 and Day 2

Day 1

Around noon on the 4th of October, a tired Vasco Chennai Express screeched to a halt at its final stop, a gigantic station called Chennai Central. The Goa crew, 6 children from Care and Compassion home (Panjim) along with 4 Volunteers accompanying them, have finally arrived in the land of Masala Dosas, Filter Coffee and Bharata Natyam, after a 20 hour train journey from Margao. The first impressions of Namma (Our) Chennai are the huge buildings, the iconic statues, bustling streets and the obvious, the Heat!

We quickly get into the cars waiting to take us to the venue of the 4th installment of the 1000 Crane Project, Dakshina Chitra. We were blown away by the sheer size and beauty of this museum and center for South Indian Architecture, Art and Culture. In a couple of hours, the 6 children from the Nalamdana project based in Chennai arrived and after a quick round of introductions, we left for our guided tour of Dakshina Chitra. The entire center is split into 4 main parts, named after the 4 South Indian States - Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In each section, our guide Prabhu walked us through the different types of traditional houses of that region and the rationale behind its structure and design. After the hour long tour, we were inspired to do some art of our own.

Back in our work-space, a pentagon shaped hall, the 12 children received their Art Bags with all the art and craft materials they would require for the camp. Then in usual 1000 Crane style, we put the 12 children into mixed pairs and for the first activity of the day, the partners got to know a little bit more about each other and then painted a beautiful picture as a gift on their partner’s Art Bag.

A tiring but exciting first day soon came to an end and all of us went back to our rooms to get some shut eye and prepare ourselves for a mammoth day 2.

Unfortunately we had technical issues with our camera and weren't able to take pictures of Day 1.

Day 2:

The second day of the camp started with a fun activity where the children had to come up with one way how we use water and the sound associated with it. Some of these included jumping into a puddle with a loud ‘Pichak!’, watering plants with a ‘shhhhhisshhh’ and drinking water with a ‘glug glug glug’. After this we learnt a cool new version of the old classic ‘Rock, Paper, Scissor’ called ‘Giant, Magician, Princess’, where we have to act out the character with our entire body instead of hand symbols.

We then got to know more about Tara Trust, the 1000 Crane project and the main topic of our program – 'Water'. We learnt that out of all the water that covers 75% of the surface of the earth, only 1% is potable water, which has to be shared among the population of the whole world. We learnt how this limited resource is getting depleted day by day due to wastage and pollution and considering this we understood that we have to take action today to conserve water.

Making boats out of used plastic bottles was the first creative task at hand for the children today. After preparing their boats, the children went around the campus to pick up, leaves, nuts, candy wrappers, twigs etc to decorate their boats, which they then painted, and attached on to their boats creating some incredible waste art.

Which child does not like cartoons? So our first collaborator of the camp, Mr Swami, a renowned animator and art teacher based in Chennai was a crowd favorite from the moment he stepped into the hall. The way Swami interacted with the children and how he surprised them with his toon voices, was an absolute treat to watch. He explained how cartoons or animation is all about bringing life to a drawing of a character by making it move. To give the children hands on experience of animating or bringing to life their own drawings, Swami taught the children how to create Thaumatropes, where a part of the picture is drawn on one side and another part is drawn on the reverse side of the paper. When the Thaumatrope is rotated at a fast pace, the two images merge and a moving image is created. Through this exercise the children learnt that making a few mistakes is the first step to learn how to do a new activity. 
But once they mastered the technique, they created moving images of a blinking eye, a flower growing out of a bud, a bee flying among others. As the children got a taste of animation, Swami spoke to the children of how each of them could make their own cartoon if they come up with 1. An Idea 2. Story 3. The  Characters 4. Location and 5. The Message.


We ended the day with a ‘5 Things You Know About Your Partner’ Quiz completion, which was a laugh riot for both the volunteers and the children.


  1. wow! the pictures say everything. All the best!

  2. What a great start...valuable lessons and fun, environment and art!

  3. Good luck to you team. You are doing a great job!

  4. Great work you all!! - Joan

  5. Great Going guys! :) Its nice to know you Juhi, Abhishegh and Sonja:)