ABT Virtual Certification Ceremony 2020

Twenty-three Art Based Therapy practitioners were awarded certificates of practice in a virtual certification ceremony today. These are practitioners who have spent nine months of bonding, togetherness and belonging; working selflessly for the benefit of children and adults at risk or with special needs. Today they were called upon to be together, bonded and to belong virtually even as they are so far apart in the physical sense. Their work has reached 11 locations across four corners of the country – from Mumbai to Kolkata and Delhi to Bangalore; where they have brought shifts in social and emotional health, learning and mental health for the children and adults who are beneficiaries of their ABT work. 

The ABT certification has been a deeply spiritual event where Gitanjali Sarangan and Sumathi Ramji, course educators and mentors, have paid homage to the inner ‘guru’ within these practitioners. This inner guru who is a source of deep wisdom is invoked through a ‘padapuja’ or the ritual cleansing of feet. Keeping with the tradition, today’s certification saw a symbolic rendering of the padapuja for these practitioners through an offering to the goddess Tara. Tara, whose idol was installed at Prajnadhara’s new campus at Nellamangala city in Bangalore by our beloved Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche- a great master of Tibetan Buddhism; symbolizes the universal mother, whose oceans of compassion and wisdom are forever there to cease the suffering of all beings of the world. In gratitude to Tara, everyone at the ceremony wore green, the colour of the heart chakra in Hindu philosophy. We hope our newly certified students will channel Tara’s abundance in supporting the journeys of children and adults everywhere.  

The ABT certification has been a deeply spiritual event where Gitanjali Sarangan and Sumathi Ramji, course educators and mentors, have paid homage to the inner ‘guru’ within these practitioners. This inner guru who is a source of deep wisdom is invoked through a ‘padapuja’ or the ritual cleansing of feet. Keeping with the tradition, today’s certification saw a symbolic rendering of the padapuja for these practitioners through an offering to the goddess Tara. Tara, whose idol was installed at Prajnadhara’s new campus at Nellamangala city in Bangalore by our beloved Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche- a great master of Tibetan Buddhism; symbolizes the universal mother, whose oceans of compassion and wisdom are forever there to cease the suffering of all beings of the world. In gratitude to Tara, everyone at the ceremony wore green, the colour of the heart chakra in Hindu philosophy. We hope our newly certified students will channel Tara’s abundance in supporting the journeys of children and adults everywhere.  

These twenty-three practitioners are a part of the Prajnadhara family, a part of all of us at Snehadhara. Our campus was decorated in their welcome though they could not share the physical space with us. Through offerings of ‘chandan’ which symbolizes wisdom and flowers which symbolize bounty, Gitanjali laid flowers and performed ‘tikka’ in everyone’s welcome in a video piece everyone on the Zoom call seemed able to feel and sense. Sumathi explained the deep meaning of these offerings and recognized the contribution of each of these practitioners in their chosen fields of work, wishing them the best for their work ahead. Sumathi and Gitanjali commended each of the twenty-three practitioners by talking through passages from their final action research reports, explaining the compelling and evidence-based progress of the beneficiaries of their work. Musical performances from Archana and Divya took the group through raagas invoking the energy of the Hindu god Hanuman and the immortal words of the poet Kabir. The music seemed to bring a sense of calm abiding peace and creative encouragement to these newly qualified practitioners.

What has been especially encouraging is the placements and employment opportunities that have come to several of our students during this journey. The day was made extra special by messages from the mentors and supervisors of the 2019-2020 batch. Brother joseph, Director at St. Catherine’s Home and School for Destitute Children, one of the oldest of such spaces, noted the big day for Rishabh and congratulated him for his hard work, curiosity, and energy. Rishabh, whose art-based interventions brought positive shifts for his beneficiary population topped this Batch. certification. Bunty Shreshtha, mentor to Kavita Verma, created magic with a puppet show showing Kavita with her ‘Vanar Sena,’ (also the name of Kavita’s action research project), which was praised as a loving and compassionate ode to the children with special needs Kavita held and supported throughout her ABT journey. Bunty, also Sudha’s mentor, brought another creative masterpiece of object theatre steering a boat pulled by a string to a board inscribed with the words ‘congratulations Sudha!’ Sita Krishnamoorthy, Head of Deepika School, appreciated Arpita’s open heart and generosity through a riveting piece of bharatnatyam by a colleague at Deepika School. Arpita’s action research project was praised to have brought remarkable shifts in the group interaction and attention span of the children with special needs at Deepika school. Upjas’s joy-bringing work was praised by her mentor and even the voices of the children she worked with, bringing delight to everyone in the virtual ceremony. Priyanka’s heart-warming art-based work was praised to have built resilience for children undergoing cancer treatment and palliative care at Sri Sankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre Bangalore.

Beautiful sharings from the newly certified practitioner humbled all of us at Snehadhara and we feel grateful for being a part of their transformative journey. Nandini, who worked at the Hope Foundation, spoke about pushing her own boundaries, bringing personal benefits and wellbeing for herself. Aastha spoke about recognising and balancing her own energies in her interactions with others. Mummun talked about self-care in the sense of being open to receive care from others, widening the meaning of what it means to be there for others.

The ceremony closed with messages from the board of Snehadhara Foundation. Mohan Sundaram, an eminent management and business advisor and leader, congratulated everyone on the solemn occasion, saluting the milestone of their achievement:

“The mantle you have taken up gives ample opportunity to be a change-maker. Such a position is enviable… I enjoy cricket, I don’t play it, but I enjoy it vicariously. I derived the same pleasure from your certification today. What struck me the most was how this was the largest ABT batch. Numbers count somewhat, but not everything. I was particularly taken in with rural projects. I saw this for the first time. ABT belongs to these rural places where it can bring positive shifts. This is extremely heartening. Creating more practitioners to take forward Snehadhara’s mission is the centrepiece of this initiative of training others and the foundation strives to work towards this. This batch comes in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis and so this virtual ceremony shows how even without physical presence, this batch can work wonders.”

Rajeev Menon, an accomplished sales leader product innovation specialist, gave huge congratulations to the batch. He says:

‘With this third batch, things have unfolded beautifully. It’s wonderful to see everyone on this call graduating today. You are going out to propagate and expand the horizon of art-based therapy. This is the last ABT course. We are going into a process of a grander programme; our own Arts Practices for Inclusion course is getting launched. I can promise you from the vantage point of Mohan and me that API is going to bring bigger and better changes to the arts-practices and disabilities world.’

The Arts Practice for Inclusion (API) course re-imagines therapeutic outcomes and inclusion in a broader sense with API’s vision to build spaces and communities where everyone feels together, welcome and free to be themselves. Even as the 1st batch of the course is due to begin in February 2021, API has already been selected to be funded by the Millennium Alliance grant to be rolled out in Nepal. Snehadhara Foundation looks forward to welcoming another batch of students to take the journey on the API course towards far greater horizons.

The ceremony ended special messages from Gitanjali and Sumathi, who spoke about the role of the arts in spreading joy, loving kindness and bringing greater awareness in perception. A special thanks to everyone who has supported the ABT journey, they said, closing the virtual certification ceremony for the day.

We wish all the newly certified practitioners the very best for their work ahead.

Previous

Next

You have Successfully Subscribed!