Anjali is a movement for an equal India. It is India's first and only International Children and Youth Festival which aims to bridge gaps for making society more inclusive and restore fun-filled childhood by joyful learning.
What is unique about Anjali?
Only national children festival in India.
It is an inclusive festival.
It is a model for joyful learning.
Dr Sruti Mohapatra joined the disability movement in 1996 with the formation of the DPI –India Chapter. She travelled extensively around the world and visited many schools, attended many conferences, spoke in many meetings and enriched herself on the issue of disability. What struck Sruti was the stark difference in the quality of life of persons with disabilities in India and South Asia as compared with other countries. Persons with Disabilities were second class citizens who lived to die. Persons with disabilities had no place in society. They were confined to rooms at homes, in urban areas in special schools or vocational training centres or buildings of various associations for the disabled; or to beds in hospitals. I said no more! I am as human as you are.
Sruti’s first thought was children because children are our future. This situation has to change. Sruti’s friend, Manoj, was the first with whom she shared this idea. ‘Amazing…much needed.’ Sruti developed a concept for presentation to like-minded people and started talking to friends, well-wishers and organizations. Sruti’s first official meeting was with Sukanya. Why not…… how wonderful!’, was the response. The then (2001) Child Rights and Information Officer of UNICEF, Orissa Office, Ms Sukanya Rath is a lady of immense vision and dynamism. Enthusiastic and active, she said ‘let’s get going.' Sruti had known Sukanya since college. They were a group of young, bubbly people, who had founded GLASH, an amateur music group that had become the talk of the town in the 1980s. The next supporter was Mr R. Balakrishnan, then secretary, culture and tourism (GoO). Never before had she met a more sensitive and empathetic government officer. ‘Sruti we should have a world-class event, can you promise me that? That was all he said. And thus Anjali was born.
HOW DID IT GROW?
From project Anjali to Anjali National Children Festival, the dream has grown large to encompass children from all over India, breaking all man-made barriers. It commenced as a five-year demonstration project, in 2001, to focus on physically and sensory challenged children. The avid interest of mainstream school students saw it transforming into an inclusive children festival in 2003 and finally the only national children festival in 2004. On the one hand, it is an effort to empower children who had been stigmatized and oppressed so they may participate fully in society and on the other hand, it focuses on bridging gaps by enabling disabled and non-disabled children to discover each other in four days, now five days, camp. In this journey, Anjali has also grown into a joyful learning model.
Anjali was born.
All Odisha participates
First National Children's Festival in India
Model for Inclusive and Joyful Learning
Moves beyond Bhubaneswar
Focus on Volunteerism
Gets a Mascot.
Carnival of Love Introduced
Indradhanush – performances by professional artists with disabilities.
First International Festival
Atmospheric design of Camp
Swacch Anjali – Matched India’s clarion call for cleanliness.
Gets a brand ambassador
Disability Arts Festival - Swayam
City embraces Anjali.
Dialogues in Disability.
Anjali Turns 18.
47,000 Participants Till Now
Participants from all across India & 15 countries.
Bridging the gaps.