An Introduction to the Kutumb Foundation
The Kutumb Foundation was initiated in 2002 by a group of young people who felt that:
1. There is an increasing need to develop a sense of community among urban displaced people belonging to lower income groups through the spread of education and to provide them with greater employment opportunities as well as better conditions of employment;
2. There should be greater transparency in the NGO sector and better management practices in its functioning, and such practices must be developed through research into their existing ways of functioning;
3. The corporate sector could and ought to be involved in social works, especially in the area of welfare programs for children, as an investment in our future.
Kutumb has grown from its humble beginnings in the erstwhile Khan Market park (now a parking lot) in the summer of 2002. In this short period of time we have tried to provide a platform for young people from the non-privileged sections of society to engage in conversations and express themselves through creative forms as diverse as football, painting and theatre. We have made small yet successful strides in our endeavour, working with the children of the Khan Market labour camp, be it with regard to teaching i.e. the ‘Indradhanush’ (ID) program; in welfare, with annual health camps like ‘Sfoorti’—now a year-long health project under the title KAFILA; or in events like Goal Of Life, the soccer workshop-cum-tournament and Josh-e-Umang, the annual theatre festival. Aiming to provide holistic development, our events are a celebration of the spirit, innocence and vitality of children. One of Kutumb’s latest initiatives is Active Pluralism - a celebration of otherness and multiculturalism. It strives to engage college students through workshops, film screenings, activities and programmes that promote the spirit of multiculturalism and celebrate different identities within the college-campus environment. Another interesting initiative is School Intervention Programme which is basically an education based intervention programme. Through this programme Kutumb will form liaisons with Government schools and target relatively slower/weaker students to prevent them from becoming drop-outs.
While it is undeniable that most of Kutumb’s activities are conceptualised by its senior members, who belong to more privileged backgrounds, they are to a great extent executed by its junior members, who belonged to the Khan Market slum, which was demolished last year in a government-driven action aimed at beautifying Delhi. Every concept is thrashed out with the Indradhanush Swayam Sarkar (ISS)—a democratic body that counts all participants in the Indradhanush program as members—and a project only moves ahead when it has the group’s nod.
Over the years Kutumb has had a range of people coming in to interact with our junior members and participate in the academic as well as the non-academic aspects of our curriculum. It is here that we have been fortunate to find allies in our quest for welfare, and who continue to enrich us with their cooperation. The Habitat Learning Centre, Karam Marg, Manzil, Pravah and nowYouthreach, have had a strong and steady relationship with Kutumb. The Lions’ Club partnered with us to launch KAFILA, and continue to support the venture as it enters its second phase. Various corporates have made private and public overtures to support Goal of Life, Josh-e-Umang and KAFILA. Xansa gave ‘Manchalé’, Kutumb’s very own music band, its first break.
Kutumb has learnt that an effective project often relies more on human energies and ideas, and requires little investment of money or goods, and that the time spent by the volunteers tends to energise rather than sap them. We encourage participation in our activities by individuals who show a willingness to give something back to society. We have found from our experience that our programmes have as much to offer to the volunteers who serve, as to those who are served.
Today Kutumb has come a long way and to continue to reach out to more and more children and young people in need, we need support from organisations, institutions, corporate houses and individuals. Come let us celebrate the spirit of vasudhaiva kutumbakam. Come, and be kutumb!