Impacting over 500 children, the Merasi School opened its doors in 2007. Children, ages four to sixteen, are divided in sections determined by skill-level. Six afternoons a week, classes are formed by material relevant to the community and strike a balance between core life skills and music legacy taught by master musicians.
In the first decade, FAR identified and mentored commendable Merasi students in their education at private day schools. Today, these heralds of change serve as peer teachers, role models and activists.
FAR hosts gatherings at LKSS, the community hub of Merasi Intangible Cultural Heritage advocacy. Youth leaders along with children assemble together at least four times a year to share knowledge, play music, and rally toward common goals of empowerment and self-worth. An initiative that started with 12 children in 2014, now welcomes over 120 youth from Jaisalmer and outlying rural villages.
Music Preservation Programs
The Legacy Project
Merasi youth access and record stories from village elders detailing their cultural, mystic, and historic origins. Guided by FAR volunteers, it is the first ever collection compiled by the Merasi themselves. The multi-generational legacy reunions are a collaborative endeavor supporting the recognition and safeguard of the endangered Merasi Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Musical Narrative Project
The Musical Narrative Project (MNP) is an ever-expanding archive of photo, audio and video material documenting the musical legacy of the community. It nurtures Merasi pride and a sense of dignity by celebrating their traditional music in a contemporary context. Volunteers and students preserve their cultural legacy by regularly adding recordings, photos and objects to a growing archive housed in NYC.
Five trips to Mumbai
FAR chaperons a week of performances and sightseeing while Merasi children and their teachers share their music with diverse audiences and mobilize listeners to support its perpetuation. For four consecutive years, Merasi musicians have enthralled the spectators at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, India’s largest arts festival in Mumbai.