Yuva Arts Project is a cross-cultural collaborative initiative addressing issues related to displacement and disintegration faced by marginalised youth groups across the world. Using arts as a medium, we aim to provide a space for youth to explore solutions, so that they may overcome social challenges that they experience. The three youth groups participating in this project, aged between 12 and 15, are children of commercially sexually exploited women from India, Canadian indigenous youth and newcomer youth in KW. This project is set to take place for the first time over a period of two weeks in May 2019.

The Yuva Arts team, founded by Tamara Menon, comprises of music students. Yuva Arts together with Multicultural Theatre Space, a theatre company and charity based in Kitchener-Waterloo have partnered with Prerana, an anti-trafficking organisation based in Mumbai, India. Various community organisations and artists such as the Reception House/Community Justice Initiatives, Healing of the Seven Generations, Neruda Arts, Gary Diggins, Inshallah Choir, Dr. Gerard Yun and Dr. Colin Lee are also our collaborators.

A group of 6-8 Indian youth from Kamathipura, who are children of commercially sexually exploited women, will travel to Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, where they will have the opportunity to collaborate in various arts-based projects with Indigenous and refugee youth. Using creative arts as a medium, this exchange will be aimed towards building understanding and friendship, as well as addressing various social challenges faced by these youths while collectively exploring solutions. This two-week exchange will include music therapy sessions, collaborative music-making workshops, sound therapy, Arpillera craft workshops, Moccasin craft workshops, Haudenosaunee social events and collaborative theatre workshops led by the professional community artists and organisations mentioned above. Through these workshops, our youth participants will have the opportunity to exchange stories, build friendships, explore their identities, enhance their communication, leadership skills and self-worth. Our aim is to build leaders so that, not only will they strive for an enriching future for themselves, but also for their communities. The two-week program will conclude with a final event in Kitchener-Waterloo as a means of sharing their learnings and successes through cultural presentations and celebrating the collaborative pieces that they create together.

Yuva Arts Project facilitates the development of global engagement, global activism, community involvement and inclusion, all in the hopes of creating an international perspective for all individuals involved in our project. Yuva Arts also addresses various areas of injustice and challenges faced by youth across the world. This has turned out to be a great opportunity for volunteers and community partners to build awareness, sensitivity, acceptance, and appreciation of diverse cultures present around them.

We are also very grateful for the support of our mentor, Dr. Gerard Yun, the Laurier Faculty of Music Administration and Students, Community Music Association, Music Therapy Students Association, International Students Association, Laurier International and C3 Innovations Lab at Laurier.

Meet Prema, our Yuva participant from Mumbai, India: http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_lXrQ1FvSg&t=99s