Sunday, August 29, 2010


Friday, April 3rd, 2010: at sylhet British Council organized a creativity workshop for working children. The workshop was for a 3-hour shift and was targeted at instilling the children with creativity and infusing the innovative ideas in them.

Working children between the age group of 12 to 15 were targeted to carry on the concept. It was aimed at encouraging them to be natural with their creative & innovative ideas.

My heart is full and running over with gratitude to the Bholananda Night High School. When I agreed to do a comic workshop with this school, I did not expect anything of this magnitude

At the Starting of the workshop, at first I tried to break the ice with the children, get to know them and their background. This is when I realized as I came to the workshop after being well rested from my hotel, the children came directly from their work place just to participate in the comic workshop even though their classes were dismissed on holidays! . The outpouring of time, energy and support was encouraging. The variety of expressions and the exposure for the thirty students who participated are priceless.

The workshop was held in Sylhet so there were a little language barrier between my Bangla and their sylhoti speaking. Here my last minute sylhet short training came handy as I learned some catchy word from one of my sylhoti friend before coming to the workshop. Like “matao= talk” and “ubao= wait or stand”!!! And also this comic workshop was based mostly on visual communication so the language barrier wasn’t a big deal. Within 15 minutes of time I succeed to make them believe that I am one of them and this workshop is nothing but having fun and doing something new.

After the Introduction, I talked about comics and how they think about it. As like all the children in the world the reaction was very positive. But in the discussion one thing came out is though the children like reading comics they can’t even afford one. So I cut them a deal. I said “How about if you don’t have to buy a comic book anymore, how about I teach you how to make one your self so that each of you guys can make then share and read it to each other?? And the magic worked. The best part was that they only need a pen and a paper.

As I recall it- Empowering children to voice out their feelings. The methodology I used for the participants is very simple and effective through which any person can relate and transform their stories easily into comics. Participants have never before worked on such medium; initially their reactions were simply amazing! And that made all the difference! The workshop brought children into motion, the participants but also the co-facilitators, the teachers and the head master that were administering the event.

The thirty children were divided into three groups. Each group had 5 writers and 5 Artist. The children had freedom to choose. Most of them wanted to be the scriptwriters! But I found some great illustrator/artist among them too!

After the groups were ready and well equipped with pencil, papers and pens, we started to talk about the Story. Mainly I talked about their likes and dislikes, dreams and nightmares to find out themes in which they will actually love to make some story. Along the process many children shared stories and a lot of jokes too! The jokes were put into the stories later on.

An illustrated creative writing.

A short comic.

A Comic strip

An illustrated creative writing:

The theme of the illustrated creative writing was “London” and the theme of short comic and comic strip was open, what ever they can make.

While writing about “London” and what the think of it, few little one were very realistic. I was amazed to see how a 10 year old wrote about visa, passport, bank solvency and all that!! But I was trying to pinch out the creative side of them rather then the reality these working children face every day.

As I asked a 10 year old, “How are you planning to go to London??” “Why? By plane.” Seriously the kid replied. I said “how? By grabbing the plane’s tire?” the kid said more seriously “No. By getting into the plane” Then again I asked, “How are you planning to get down from the plane” “don’t you even know that? By a strong rope” he replied!!!

you can see the rope and the ladder he drew on the wallpaper besides his writing called “getting down to London

Finally the creative writings and the illustration were glued into wallpaper. The young artist did a very good job on coloring and illustrating the stories on the wallpaper. In the wallpaper you can see how the reflection of their stories gets into drawing Michel Jackson Big Ben and all that.

Children are like those empty drawing sheets.... they learn and write their dreams on them. Wonderful stories flowed out of their imaginative minds and it reflected rich contents and send across very powerful messages.

Short Comic and Comic Strips:

side by side I started to train up the artist section with the basics. I made them believe that making comics is no Rocket Science...its actually so simple. You just need to know how to draw an "O" and a "T" and the rest follows. I taught them the use of comic bubbles and comic boxes and how to make different kinds of it. Understanding the concept and took keen interest.

The young scriptwriters converted their stories and plots into dialogs and scene. And depending upon the scene the little cartoonists made boxes and cartoons within it. After that they put bubble along with the dialogs. Walla! A comic is created!

Such a Comic was named “the Story of the elephant and the little ant ” were their moral message was “no matter how little some one is you never should look down upon them”

A strip comic was named “BOISHAKHI CARTOON” here are few samples:

Finally after all the hard work was done, a presentation session was created. Each team comes up with their comics/wallpapers and read it to the audience. This session was really amusing. All the works were pasted on the classroom wall. When they saw their comics displayed, the participants were amazed..."Did I make this?"-Was a common response... I said yes! The kids sent there believed in their Comics as much as I did! The feedback that they gave made all my pains worthwhile.

PS: after the workshop was closed. It was 10 pm at night I was heading to the hotel; out of nowhere the kids came up to me and gifted me with Flowers. I never can forget the love)