Physically and economically challenged youth of the city find a platform to demonstrate their hidden skills which otherwise go unnoticed, through various activities conducted by Kolkata Sukriti Foundation (KSF), a city based NGO. A ray of hope is instilled in their daily lives which otherwise are mostly full of struggle and pain.
Kolkata Sukriti Foundation was started in 2005 and since its inception it has focused on reaching out the unreached through the platform of Television and hence the term ENGO ~ electronic NGO is coined by Mr Abhijit Dasgupta, an eminent documentary filmmaker and secretary of KSF, to refer to the organisation which has won several international accolades.There is no paid field force for the organisation.
Instigating and showcasing the hidden talent of those people who suffer from hearing, speech and visual impairment and those who have lost their upper or lower limbs drive the project of ‘ Beyond Belief ‘. In this project such differently abled youth are taken for an expedition to places where even people without physical disability wouldn’t dare.
8 such people will take part in ‘Canoe and Kayak’ in January next year. They will row at least 300 kms , in the high seas between Kolkata and Paradip, in 4 days with a crocodile infested stretch of 100 kms.
The expeditions are converted into documentaries and offered free to different TV channels for telecast to create awareness.
Bhola Dalui, a physically challenged man who now works as a swimming instructor at a swimming club in the city, has taken part in all the expeditions organised by ‘Beyond Belief’, feels that though the expeditions were difficult but he never impossible to succeed in the mission and it made him feel that he is differently abled and not ‘disabled’.
62 kids who come from the lowest stratum of the society with no financial means to achieve proper education and training comprise the project of “Gold Underground”. KSF emphasizes on project-based, event-based education rather than a curriculum which gives degrees but not knowledge, says Mr Dasgupta who further stresses on the need for the education system to change with time.
Young people, physically or economically challenged or both, are taught to sing by noted singer Rupam Islam who is also a member of the NGO. They have choreographed on stage that left the spectators mesmerized. Lessons on team-building, discipline, relying on each other are imparted to evolve them into national asset.
Parents of those children, however, vehemently oppose the idea of their children getting involved with such activities instead of earning for the family. It has been quite a task for KSF to convince the parents.
A research on the prevalence of HIV+ and ignorance about it was conducted by KSF. They were startled to discover that students of secondary classes of English medium schools frequent brothels without proper knowledge of STDs, HIV+ and the need to use protection.
KSF visited 100 schools to educate them about HIV, ways to prevent it and encouraged students to write stories that were later selected and televised.
A muslim girls school in Howrah, surprisingly, allowed the volunteers of KSF to campaign in the school on the rising menace of HIV+ cases, ways to prevent it and encoraged student to write stories. Nine stories were produced by the girls of which some were selected and televised.
Tanushree Dasgupta Breast Cancer Trust along with KSF works towards bringing smile on the faces of children suffering from cancer. Members and volunteers visit such patients at pediatric wards of hospitals and show them magic, sing for them,decorate their rooms with cartoons made by Chandi Lahiri and his daughter.
Treatments of 36 poor women suffering from breast cancer who cannot afford treatment are sponsored by KSF too.
Lack of fund, however, is posing a major threat to the philanthropic work carried out by the NGO but the success stories like the one of Bhola Dalui give the impetus to carry on amidst adversities.