In 2008, ACORN Foundation, under the leadership of Advocate Vinod Shetty and trusted volunteers, started the ‘Dharavi Project’ with the understanding that “children and youth are the most powerful messengers of change.” A result of this Project was the formation of a junk band, ‘Dharavi Rocks’. As of now, the band has performed in more than 200 shows all over India and in the UK. The success story of the Dharavi Rocks Band has highlighted the role that music can play in giving the youth of Dharavi a voice and a platform opening up avenues to multiple livelihood streams within the creative arts. This in turn has nudged the creation of the Dharavi Rocks ‘School Project’. Based on a two-level ‘train the trainer’ framework, volunteers train students from Dharavi who then train the students in schools in Dharavi (the next generation of students from the community).
The program’s mission is to:
I) Give children from urban slums a voice through education, music and art;
II) Give a platform to accomplished musicians to train underprivileged youth in music
On an ongoing basis, twice a month, we collect paper and plastic waste from Oberoi International School and the American School of Bombay. This along with our partnerships with corporates such as Bloomberg ensure a steady supply of resource for recycling for the members of the ACORN community.
Another successful initiative is the Dharavi Rocks band a music education project has been around since 2010. At any given time it consists of 30 to 35 kids from ages 14 to 25 , as of today since the last 10 years more then 5000 boys and girls have received training in music from popular Indian & International musicians and bands. The kids in Dharavi Rocks have been fortunate to receive guidance and mentorship from some of the most popular musicians in India like Suneeta Rao , Shankar Mahadevan, Rajeev Raja and bands like Agnee and many International musicians visiting Mumbai and performing in Blue Frog (a jazz club) have worked with the kids and conducted workshops for the kids . Some of our kids have acted in movies and TV shows, many have recorded professionally in studios and done live acts with some of the top musicians.
The Band is very creative and has always had music teachers, volunteers and trainers and
composed and recorded music for TV and films. The Percussion Junk Band plays their own
compositions and other tunes in schools, colleges and public events on recycled Plastic
drums and has performed more than 175 shows all over India and in 2017 have also
travelled and performed at the Roundhouse London UK. They have been ambassadors for
ACORN’s recycling campaign.