Angels’ Place is located in Curachandpur, a district of Manipur bordering Myanmar in the north eastern corner of India. Yes, it is a region crippled by poverty, yet it is also rich with culture and natural beauty including waterfalls and historic caves. The town is surrounded by small tribal villages nestled in the hillsides where closely knit communities scrap together meager existences. Yet in the face of unimaginable hardships, they still find ways to express a love of life through singing, dancing, community festivals and celebrations.
"The hill slopes reverberate with the sound of gongs, cries and echoes of singing men and women, while drum beats drown out the regular monotony of isolation." (from the Churachandpur Official Website)
The district is made up of several tribes, all with their own unique and colorful cultural traditions. Most of the children from Angels’ Place come from the Paite tribe, with some also from the Mizo and Kuki. The predominant native languages are Paite, Manipuri and Hindi, and thanks to the education they receive through Angels’ Place, they are all proficient in English, a skill that will give them a competitive edge in the job market.
Coming from such long traditions of festivals and celebrations, the children love to sing and dance! Not only the traditional songs and dances of their tribal heritage, but those of popular modern culture as well. The children enjoy the ancient folk songs celebrating every day tasks of village life like farming, cooking, building huts and weaving cloth as much as the blockbuster songs of their favorite 21st-century music artists. Dancing is no different. The Cheraw, a complex traditional dance using bamboo rods, is as popular with the children as modern styles they learn on the internet. Whether it’s a traditional bamboo dance or a Bollywood mega-hit on the program, the children express great joy and fulfillment sharing their love of song and dance with the visitors and staff of Angels' Place.
We, at James Connection, value the cultural heritage of the children and make sure they have plenty of opportunities to honor and share it. We believe cultivating pride in where they come from is important in helping them form healthy identities and building successful futures.