Kolkata Bhalobashi Foundation or KBF was set up in 2006 by Amar in Kolkata in India. He started by going into the slum area, armed with his guitar and a packet of biscuits, gathering a few children around him. He taught them songs and a bit of English. Over time he took on a couple of teachers, acquired a tiny building and the fledgling school project was born. Today around 60 children attend this project, and KBF has grown significantly!
It now works in three main ways:
The School Project facilitates an education for children living in the slum area, whose families cannot otherwise afford to send them to school. Poverty means that families may have been unable to access education for generations. The project seeks to break that cycle and to provide opportunities for children to gain skills for the future. It also provides a facility for children with special needs through the “Special Stars” class.
Children’s clubs happen in various locations, including the Red Light District, on the street and in the school building. Children get to hear stories, sing songs, play games and enjoy time away from the challenges and responsibilities of their everyday lives.
The Hospice Project cares for people who have been left to die with no one to look after them. With basic care, many recover but those who do not are allowed to die with dignity, love and a sense of belonging. It has become like a family over the years with the men and women who live there helping to care for each other, and sometimes choosing to stay even after they are well.
During the pandemic, KBF has also been able to support some of the poorest people by distributing food parcels and hot meals through the time of lockdown
Friends of KBF is the UK fundraising arm of the charity, which seeks to provide funding and support for the work. It started with a small scale child sponsorship programme and is now a registered charity in its own right.
YWBC and its members support the work of KBF via Friends of KBF (Registered Charity number 1176527).