Art is Where the Heart is

In celebration of creativity and self-expression, Freedom Tree and the Pehlay Akshar Foundation have collaborated to transform colorful paintings by students of the Pehlay Akshar Foundation into limited edition table linens and accessories for the home.

Freedom Tree designs fun and loveable products that make everyday living beautiful, celebrating freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of being.

The Pehlay Akshar Foundation operates with the core belief that every student has the right to an excellent education and to gain the necessary skills to be future-ready.

Coming together for a good cause, Freedom Tree and Pehlay Akshar Foundation are collaborating to spread happiness through the infusion of joy and color.

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About the Pehlay Akshar Foundation 

The Pehlay Akshar Foundation was founded, with the core belief that every student has the right to an excellent education to gain the necessary skills for their future. They believe in creating safe spaces for students and teachers across the country to be able to express themselves and grow as individuals in a judgement free environment. 

As per the ASER report, it was observed that nearly 97.2% of the school-going age population was enrolled in school. Yet the education sector continues to face a learning poverty, and learning outcomes remain very poor, especially in Government schools. Over 70% of students in Class 3 lack basic reading and mathematics skills, which form the basis of all future learning. These poor outcomes stay with students throughout their lives and limit their future opportunities and success. 

To address this learning crisis and better respond to the needs of these students, Pehlay Akshar partnered with Local and State Governments to implement immersive and engaging programs that change the ways students learn, and the ways teachers teach in government schools. Their approach towards providing education incorporates diverse learning philosophies that promote creative thinking and greater socio-emotional skills. 

Apart from the schooling and teaching programs, they have also developed numerous volunteering programs like A Story A Day – A video recital of stories that can help students improve their reading, and The Paperboat Project – A mentorship program to help students connect with like-minded individuals who can help them in the right career direction. 

As of July 2021, the foundation has reached 5 Lakh+ students, across 3 states, some of whom graduated and joined the foundation as a teacher.

They have also impacted 10000+ teachers across Maharashtra and continue to reach out in various other parts of the country. The foundation aims to reach out to the various corners of India and provide students in the remotest location with the education they deserve.

Recognising that art wasn’t accessible to all, Pehlay Akshar launched a program to give their students access to art education and artistic expression. To mark the occasion of Children’s Day in 2019, multidisciplinary designer and creative coach, Kunj Mehta Sheth, conducted an art workshop that encouraged these students to express themselves using their creativity. 

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Exploring Self-Expression

As an advocate of art therapy and of color therapy, the session that Kunj conducted with the Pehlay Akshar Foundation was designed to allow the children to freely address their emotions through colors. 

“Color, I believe, is the most universal language of expression.” - Kunj Mehta Sheth

Armed with canvases, an array of mediums ranging from acrylics to inks, and a series of unconventional tools such as sponges, ink rollers, pieces of paper, and stamps, each student was encouraged to let loose and tap into their emotions. To help stimulate a response, various types of music were played in the background and the children built up patterns and textures according to how the music made them feel.

With different mediums and forms of mark-making to explore, the students enjoyed letting loose and getting into a flow. Here, the artist likens the experience to embarking upon a journey with yourself - since every color is associated with an emotion, you can begin to express yourself on paper in ways that you perhaps can’t otherwise. The outcome wasn't the subject or aesthetic qualities of the art, but the joy and happiness that it created in the children.

“Children who grow up making and seeing art - be it visual arts, performing arts or literary arts, are not only more empowered to express themselves freely, but are known to have more positive and happier personalities as compared to those who don’t.” - Kunj Mehta Sheth

From Concept to Creation

The free-spirited paintings by the students sparked a joy that Freedom Tree connected with, ensuing their work with the Pehlay Akshar Foundation to translate them into beautiful linens and accessories for the table. Renowned space design consultant and interior designer, Elsie Nanji, was instrumental in this partnership and in bringing these thoughtfully curated products to life.

The colorful collection of table mats, coasters and napkins are coordinated into two sets, but can be mixed, matched and bought individually as one pleases. Each gift-friendly set consists of 4 cotton table mats, 4 resin coasters, and 4 dinner napkins that are different in design but harmonious in their pairings. The table mats and coasters retain the artistic style of the children who inspired these creations, while the 4 dinner napkins feature signature Freedom Tree prints that complement them.

Perfectly ready to set your own table or to gift to loved ones, the Freedom Tree and Pehlay Akshar Foundation collection promises to brighten both moods and homes. Like a rainbow on your table, the splashes of color lifts spirit and adds joy to every occasion.

Infusing the home with art helps make it more human - a place where you can express yourself and connect with your emotions. Beyond decoration, moments of color at home can provide comfort, inspire optimism, and encourage hope. In every piece of art, the fingerprints, strokes, or marks serve as reminders of the person, story and delight behind it.

*Special thanks to Ayesha Monani for these photographs.

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Shopping for a Good Cause

With every purchase of Pehlay Akshar merchandise, Freedom Tree will donate 10% of MRP back towards the Pehlay Akshar Foundation, giving more children the chance to spark their joy and curiosity for learning.

Be someone’s rainbow. 

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Spreading the Joy

Freedom Tree is delighted to help with customized gifting products like these for your foundation or business. For corporate gifting enquiries, please contact Freedom Tree at
and +91 98204 31814.

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