Anoshinie Muhundarajah is a professional Dancer, Choreographer and Instructor. She started dancing at the age of 5, trained in Bharathanatyam and went onto explore other styles on her own. She continues to grow by fusing her foundation in Bharathanatyam with innovative movements inspired from other dance genres, calling it Modern Classical. Anoshinie has danced on various platforms like TedX, TIFF and Raptors, went on a World Tour as a backup dancer for Lilly Singh and was a finalist on Canada’s Got Talent with Broken Dance. She is an an advocate for using the arts as a segway to make a difference and has volunteered to teach dance at the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre, Covenant House Toronto, and the Organization of Canadian Tamils with Disabilities. Anoshinie has a Bachelors of Social Work, is the founder of R.I.S.E (Rising to Inspire, Strengthen & Empower) Through Dance, and the Assistant Director of Broken Dance Performing Arts. In 2012 she went on a family trip to Sri Lanka, where she had the opportunity to spend a day at an orphanage, dancing with the kids. Anoshinie believes that by continuing to use her passion and experience in dance to guide, inspire, and empower others, then she is fulfilling her purpose.

Anoshinie will be placed in the position of Performing Arts Instructor for two months under the Right of Return Program with Capokolam in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka to help deliver intensive, holistic, and innovative educational arts programs on the theme of ‘FEMALE POWER’ – our shakhti.

We asked Anoshinie to share some of her thoughts on her upcoming experience as she heads out to Sri Lanka.

I fly out to Sri Lanka in a few hours and I have so many different emotions running through me right now! I remember when I first came across the posting from comdu.it and saw that they were accepting applications for a Performing Arts Instructor, I knew I had to apply. When dance and using the art form to empower people are my biggest passions, this position with comdu.it and Capokolam was calling my name!

My name is Anoshinie Muhundarajah and I will be volunteering with comdu.it as a Performing Arts Instructor in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka for two months with the Capokolam program. Capokolam delivers innovative educational arts programs to children in marginalized and impoverished communities, affected by war, natural disaster, and endemic socio-economic inequality, to bring about psycho-social rehabilitation and sustainable change. I will be working with students from ages 11 – 22 where I will be teaching Modern Classical, Bollywood, and Fusion while exploring the theme of Female Empowerment. Some of the students come from very poor families or single parent households, have not only lost their parent(s) to the war or tsunami but have witnessed them being taken away with their own eyes, and are victims of sexual abuse. Outside of Batticaloa, I will have the opportunity to go to Nuwara Eliya and Mullaitivu to teach as well. Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to mentally and emotionally prepare myself to see and hear the reality of these individuals. What better way than dance to explore, express, and share their stories. I look forward to creating a fun, safe, and welcoming space for the students to dance their hearts out! This is my first time volunteering abroad and alone so I am definitely nervous but also very excited to be teaching dance and connecting with the students, community, organization and other volunteers from around the world.

At 23 years old in 2012 is when I first got to see the streets, community, and schools in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka where my mother and father grew up in. All of my life up until then, I had to use my imagination to picture the stories they would tell me and only knew the voices of our family members living there. Passing through the streets of Trincomalee and seeing places that were important to my parents made me emotional because they had to leave everything behind and so much has changed since the war. They never shared too much with me aside from the happy funny stories and growing up I never took the initiative to find out more because I knew it would be heartbreaking to hear and it was easier to carry on with life in Toronto. As I get older, I want to know the history and what their life would have been like if they stayed in Sri Lanka because it is also a part of my history and who I am.

I would have never imagined that I would go to the country where my family is from to do what I love and to learn and share stories of the kids and women who did stay. I am a huge advocate for using dance as a platform to empower others and share stories. I am so thrilled to provide this opportunity for individuals in Sri Lanka and continue to work with them to build this platform for the students in Batticaloa and hopefully in other parts of the country and world in the future. My intention is not only to be apart of a short term building process, but to stay connected and see how I can continue what I hope to achieve in these two months.

I want to create change in a way that I know how, through my love of dance and people!

Stay tuned to this blog to follow Anoshinie’s work in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka this summer.

Please consider supporting our vision to create more opportunities for the diaspora to contribute knowledge and expertise to the North and East of Sri Lanka. You can make a donation to our 2017-19 seed fund at https://www.gofundme.com/comduit.