Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Media Academy Students Curate a Unique Virtual Exhibition to Showcase the Power of Media

Amidst COVID 19 pandemic, children from resource poor backgrounds of Mumbai in association with BMM students from St Xavier’s college create awareness through their learnings to make informed career choices.

 by Priya J

Mumbai,January 2021: In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon/tool which you can use to change the world!” and treading on those lines apropos to the International Day of Education, Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Media Academy has organized a unique virtual exhibition titled #Education Beyond Books, in association with the Mass Media Department of St Xavier’s College. Since the pandemic has necessitated a shift to digitization of learning and teaching pedagogy, the NGO was inspired to take the exhibition online with the theme E-learning  A Catalytic Transition’. The initiative which began last year was designed to be an interactive learning experience helping students from across private and government schools to understand the power of media and be inspired to make informed career choices.

A critical aspect of secondary education in India is the dropout rate of students. As per the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, 36.37% in India drop out by Class 8 (Educational Statistics at a Glance, 2014). While the current education system does not prepare students for relevant careers, the existing skilling ecosystem focusses on providing short-term skill development as a last resort to students who have already dropped out from the school system. Salaam Bombay Foundation has mapped these challenges and learnt that skills imparted alongside education provides exposure, develops aspirations and inspires students to attend school regularly and complete their education. Another key aspect of introducing vocational training to students while still in school is the opportunity to help them build relevant skills to navigate the work environment successfully. Exposing students to skills like communication, problem-solving, decision-making and the capacity to cope with a digital world are some of the crucial elements that employers look for in candidates.

Speaking about the virtual exhibition, Ms. Rajashree Kadam, VP, Projects (Arts and Media) said“The initiative is aimed at motivating young students to explore career options in fields like media that are not only exciting but offer lucrative opportunities as well. For students in both private and government schools, knowledge about the field is limited. They have seen journalists on television and read newspapers. However, they have not considered studying media or pursuing a career in the field themselves and the initiative is aimed to change their perception completely. It is an interactive learning experience to help them understand and acknowledge the power of media and make informed career choices. ”#Education Beyond Books” is focussed on encouraging students from different strata of the society  those from

private educational institutions as well as government schools -- to broaden their horizons towards arenas like media.”

Recognizing the importance of integrating education and skill development, Salaam Bombay Foundation is bridging the gap through its vocational skill development programme – Project Résumé. The programme is set within the formal secondary government school system and has four major vocational skill development programmes including the Media Academy, the Academy of the Arts, the Sports Academy and the skills@school programme.

Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Media Academy equips students with two important tools - a platform and a voice, focusing on helping young adolescents explore and believe in their limitless potential. This rigorous three-year programme trains students in journalism, photography, print production and design, helping them develop strong communication, writing and interpersonal skills while exposing them to media as a potential vocation. The online exhibition is available in Hindi and English, with live stalls and webinars across Print Media, Radio, TV, Social Media, Public Relations, Photography and Film Making. There will also be a live chat corner where participants can access interviews from industry experts. Launched on January 24th, 2021 it will continue till the end of March 2021 and can be accessed at

About Salaam Bombay Foundation: Salaam Bombay Foundation started in 2002 to work with 12 to 17 year old adolescent children growing up in Mumbai’s slums. These children live in extreme poverty and in “at risk” environments. The municipal schools they go to do not have the resources to give them individual attention, career guidance or access to activities that stimulate the mind. Many are undernourished and face the risk of substance abuse. They come from financially challenged homes and are pressured to drop out of secondary school and seek jobs to support their families. Given these ground realities, Salaam Bombay Foundation has harnessed the ability of child-friendly, innovative education tools to develop life skills and coping skills necessary to ensure that these adolescents develop into well rounded personalities, able to meet the challenges they face and take on leadership roles within their communities.

The Foundation keeps children in school by empowering them to make the right choices about their health, education and livelihood thereby ensuring that they can thrive with a bright future. In-school leadership and advocacy programmes equip "at-risk" adolescents with the life skills they need to lead change. The Sports, Arts and Media academies encourage them to express themselves and provide performance opportunities that build self-esteem. The skills@school programme broadens their career horizons and empowers them with vocational skills for sustainable careers. Thus Salaam Bombay initiatives increase confidence, give vulnerable adolescents the means to earn part-time and stay in school, and provide the tools to explore their full potential.