Imran Azhar, CEO/Founder AzCorp Entertainment
Mein Hero (I Am a Hero)
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
What is Mein Hero?
This project aims at supplementing existing art curriculum in the low-mid income schools in Pakistan and beyond. Unfortunately, in most of the developing countries with education challenges there is no set curriculum for art classes at school level, which leaves students without any understanding of or interest in arts. Through Mein Hero program, we provide syllabus for one academic year to the target schools, which helps them not only in teaching art/drawing skills to students but also indulges them into developing critical thinking, creative writing, and creating their own heroes and stories. One of the most unique aspect of this program is that as an output of this intervention each participant produces their own comic book, which is exhibited at school level and parents are also invited to visit the display. This helps in furthering open communication and free expression as the participants get to tell their stories and dreams in the form of comic books. This also fosters healthy parent-child and student-teacher relationships.
Furthermore, there's dearth of local content, which is engaging and interactive for the kids and teens, especially when it comes to arts. Most of the schools do not have a prescribed arts syllabus or curriculum and nearly all the teaching of arts is limited to mere painting and coloring without a proper thought process. Pedagogical techniques employed for the teaching of other subjects are also very teacher-centric, which compromises on learners' autonomy in the class, thus limiting their growth and cognitive development. Mein Hero is designed using 'Human Centric Design' methodology and 21st century teaching skills that emphasize on learners cognitive development, critical thinking, communication, and community engagement. Through arts and storytelling, Mein Hero provides an immersive learning experience to its audience that also builds better understanding of self, others, and communities. This project also reinforces the idea of heroism and how we see it. The content/comic books produced by the participants are usually extremely meaningful and tell the unique journey of hero as viewed by its creator/writer. Furthermore, through Mein Hero Exhibitions these stories are made available for wider audiences within and outside the schools.
Mein Hero is truly a one of its kind school based art program. More than 30 comic books produced by students have been published and they are available on AzCorp Entertainment's website and in retail bookstores across Pakistan. These comics are also available on our comic book reader app - Geeks Republic providing access to global audiences.
To date, the program has been successfully implemented in +450 schools among the students of grades 5-8. The same program has also been conducted with teachers, educationists, and thought leaders.