Every year, Teach For All in collaboration with The Winterhouse Institute raise awareness and value of design, while helping Teach For All partners magnify their mission through the inaugural William Drenttel Award for Excellence in Design. The award recognizes projects from Teach For All partners that utilize design to create impact and elevate the field of design through excellent work.
We are excited to announce that this year, Teach For India was recognized for the design of the original musical MAYA and its robust promotional campaign. Maya was the perfect example of an art-integrated education. We witnessed a dramatic change in the students from beginning of the journey till date. A year ago they could barely string a sentence in English, did not know how to sing or dance or act, and didn’t even know the meaning of the words wisdom, courage and compassion (the three values that are the central theme of the Musical). By showtime, their English was at par if not more that their grade level, they were confident, self-aware, embedded strong values and demonstrated them in their everyday behavior, and have become our strongest student leaders at Teach For India, who will now carry forward their learnings from Maya to teach other classrooms in Maya 2.0.
Maya was also the best example of collaboration and collective action at Teach For India. Every element of its design from costumes to sets to the brand and merchandise came together through combined efforts from the Maya children and a host of generous supporters of the project. With the help of a well-known designer, the children designed and created the costumes and hand painted the masks themselves, after reading and understanding the characters in the Musical.
Teach For India and the other winners will receive a featured announcement in Design Observer, an announcement at the 2015 Winterhouse Symposium for Design, Education, and Social Change, and design consulting services through the Winterhouse Institute network. In addition, winners’ projects will be shared across the Teach For All network as examples of innovative approaches solving challenges all partners face.