Shreya Soni, started Picture Wala in 2013 after she returned from London to her hometown in Delhi. As a part of her family rule she used to donate food, biscuits and eatables to the street children who used to knock at her car everyday for alms but instead of offering money she always donate food.
One day she happened to meet the group of children whom she used to donate food on the way for a movie and they asked her where she was heading. Their response to her movie plan was to mention they’ve never seen a movie before. These statements by the children bothered her for weeks.
Instead of sitting on this and not getting much done, Shreya decided to act on this and as an experiment decided to bring the movies to these children, if they couldn’t go there. This is how the first Picture Wala learning workshop came about.
Picture Wala, is an entertainment club for street & slum kids in India; using cinema, art, music, sports etc. as a medium to engage, entertain and inspire. Picture Wala connects with disadvantaged children with the aim to entertain, connect and inspire creativity and a sense of community through different creative learning experiences. Currently about 75 kids per workshop are registered with the organization who are basically from the slums of Delhi and live on streets.
Talking about the challenges that Shreya faced while starting up were “ “Initially the parents were slightly challenging to convince and didn’t see the benefit of sending their kids away for 3 hours where they could instead earn some money via begging. For them, the opportunity cost was immense. But tons of persuasion and reasoning got some parents to cave in and we have 35-40 children at the first Picture Wala movie screening!”. Now the parents of these kids have given her a title of Picture Wala and call her by this name only whenever she visit them in slums.
Though the organization is self funded, it is open to sponsorships and grants. On regular basis it partners with organisations like Book My Show, Book A Smile, Stic and Delhi Police for the different workshops and collaborations. A lot of people volunteer for the cause and are a big support to the organization.
According to Shreya, “The dream for Picture Wala is that every neighbourhood, town and city has their own Picture Wala chapter for their neighbouring local slums. Since the format is so simple and basic, I envisage every disadvantaged child to be under the guidance of a Picture Wala club around the country.”
Find on Facebook: Picture Wala
To connect with Shreya Soni and Picture Wala- firstname.lastname@example.org