#OWomaniya This woman paints the world of underprivileged kids with happy colours

OWomaniya, Dr Priya Virmani, Paint Our World, meet the woman, Young women serving the society, Indian Charity, Charitable Trust worked for children in distress, Indian Lifestyle blog

By Tarry

Hello my lovely people... 
Its that time of the month again when I am bringing to you my favourite section of the blog, OWomaniya

This is one section which has been giving me the most satisfaction ever since the day I started blogging. I get to know so many inspiring stories, meet so many inspiring women.... so much of positivism just in a few words. 

Here I am back again with my favourite column. And this time, I am introducing a woman, who has been adding new colours to the lives of underprivileged children with her venture, PAINT OUR WORLD  
Meet Dr Priya Virmani

Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a traveller, journeying through life with the aim of realising my best self. I wear the hats of a Political and Economic Analyst, a Social Entrepreneur and an International Speaker.

How did PAINT OUR WORLD happen? And how did the name come in?
The story of PAINT OUR WORLD began in a dilapidated building in the heart of Sonagachi – Kolkata’s notorious red light district. The children there had the saddest stories about absent childhoods because of which they were grappling with myriad behavioural difficulties. The workshops I began – which the children nicknamed ‘masti zones’ (or fun zones) – started, over time, to bring about a visible transformation in their lives. What I discovered was very simple. The children had begun feeling good about themselves and when you feel good about yourself, you see the world more positively and your interaction with the world around you changes and becomes more energetic and purposeful.
One of the girls in sonagachi who was being brought up by her Aunt and her abusive husband, in the process of completing her first painting came up to me and said "Priya Didi, before I met you I never believed there was any kindness in the world." I explained to her that what had happened to her was wrong and there are negative things happening in the world, but our world is our canvas and we can choose to 'paint our world' with happier, more empowering colours. That is where the phrase "PAINT OUR WORLD' was first used and it came to stay.

What does Paint our world aim to do? And how does it fulfill that?
Paint Our World (POW) works to emotionally empower undeserved children who have been through trauma - this includes child sexual abuse and becoming orphaned. What we don't realise is that in India, according to the Government figures (released by the Child and Women Ministry in 2007) we have 150 million abused girls and 73 million abused boys. This equates to more than the combined populations of the UK, France and Germany. To achieve the dream of an India that is a lodestar of progress and meaningful development, these children can't be left out of the 'growth' story.
At POW, we provide child sensitised, psychologically verified activity therapies (story-telling, dance and movement therapy, music, skits, and art among others) that make a meaningful intervention and help the children to process and heal from the trauma they have been through.

How has been your journey so far?
The journey so far has been magical despite being replete with challenges. Working with the children and seeing how beautifully they have transformed from scarred childhoods to happy little individuals has been the most life affirming and humbling experience.

What has been the happiest and most memorable moment in your journey of PAINT OUR WORLD so far?
With the children there are happy and unforgettable moments during every interaction. But here's sharing one: One New Year's day I was meant to spend the day with the POW children but I couldn't make it as I had fever. When I visited them after a day one of the little girls asking me how I am feeling said, "I knew you would be well soon because I love you and I prayed so much like this for you", and she shut her eyes tight and folded her hands to show me how she prayed for me. And the other children surrounded her to say, "Priya Didi, we all were praying like this for you." That memory makes my heart smile each time it comes to mind. As do all the memories of the children learning, having fun and growing wonderfully into confident little beings.

Did you ever face any challenges in this journey? How did you manage to overcome them?
I had been living in the UK for 15 years when I registered Paint Our World as a charity in India and returned from London to set it up and oversee it. I did face resistance from society in ways that were subtle and crude, in ways that were sometimes overt and at other times covert. Unfortunately, our society - the entire spectrum of it - from the highest echelons to the lowest, remains very rooted in gender biases. I commonly faced and continue to encounter condescending comments from people such as "what are you doing working in the social sector and at the grassroots level? You should be married and not doing such work." People have gone to the extent to say that "you should marry a nice boy and be home".
These comments can be very dispiriting but I have learnt to take them as an opportunity to be a game changer, to play my little part in affecting in shift in the current mindset. When more and more women start venturing out on the strength of their own identities and convictions, then women charting their own paths will become the norm and not the exception. It is a gradual process and it will take time. But every step counts. On a personal level, I understand that these comments come from a particular conditioning and hence I'm better able to take them in my stride. Married with the larger picture of why I have chosen to do what I am doing, I can't let such comments and attitudes derail me, rather I let them fortify me to continue doing the work of making a positive difference to the lives of the most vulnerable children in our society.


You are a really inspiring woman Priya. At your age, when women are trying to find meaning beyond simple things in life, you have found it. And each day, your deeds are painting the world in better colours. All the best for your venture. 

Do share your comments and views below. Your comments really make us feel so happy :-)  Also, if you are a blogger, leave your blog links and we will surely form a mutual connect. Stay blessed …


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