Toto is a young man from Nagaland, a state in North East India. Thanks to a gift from IofC friends he has been able to study music and buy a vehicle for transporting students to and from remote villages in order to pursue his dream of enabling music to bring about healing.
I first met Visokhotso Toto Chucha (called ‘Toto’ by family and friends) when he attended the 2012 Asia Pacific Youth Hoho in Nagaland. The Asia Pacific Youth Conferences offer young people aged 18-35 from the Asia Pacific region the opportunity to dialogue with those from neighbouring countries, build friendships and create networks for peace. During our time together, he played the piano for us and I was surprised to learn that he was self-taught. Since then, he has studied music and now teaches music and choir throughout Nagaland. In 2015 he was invited to take a choir to Malaysia where he performed in churches and other venues.
Toto often takes his students to concerts and recitals so that they can learn from others. He wants to expose them to the world and to help them find answers to simple questions such as ‘Who am I? Why am I on this earth? And how can I contribute to my community and the world?’ He often asks them to appreciate themselves through writing.
He explains that others think what he does is a waste of time and money. But for Toto he sees the same yearning in the youth that he had when he was their age. ‘I am happy to see them smiling and I believe they will share the same way once they grow up. I believe in a world of sharing; you have done your best for me and I want to give my best.’
In May 2017 Toto organised the first IofC camp in his village entitled ‘I Care Summer Camp.’ The participants learned techniques such as Quiet Time, Finding Our Calling, Caring for the Environment, Loving Oneself and using role-playing to understand forgiveness.
At the end of the programme the participants were asked to write about what they had learned and their thoughts on the camp. Here are some of their responses:
* It would be a waste of your time and ours if we didn't do our part, so I will try my best to practice what I have learned.
* Feeling blessed to be a part of this camp.
* Knowing myself better.
* Learning to love myself and others.
* Liking the way you taught us how to love ourselves.
* The most amazing teacher/mentor/brother.
* The most memorable day.
* Learning about the environment and how we should care for it.
* Feeling relief and light.
* Learning many new things and most importantly learning how to forgive others.
* Learning more about self-esteem.
* Learning how to care for the environment such as managing plastics in the proper way.
* Learning spiritual and moral values.
* Exploring the real identity of caring and knowing about oneself and also our environment.
* Learning how to care for myself and respect living creatures around the world and to keep our environment clean.
Toto states, ‘This camp was a small step for me and I believe it was a good start. Everyone loved it and I believe IofC is growing in our small town. I am thinking of making it a yearly event involving more people and better facilitators and spending more days together. I am happy to share my gift of music with my community and many more people.’