To create a compassionate family in the form of KUTUMB and develop a model of self-sustainable social organization with the values of
वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) is the core value which guides us. It means that the entire world is one family.
This phrase is an integral part of Indian Philosophy which says:
“This is my own relative and that is a stranger’ – is the calculation of the narrow-minded;
for the magnanimous-hearts, however, the entire earth is but one family”.
We at Kutumb believe that a loving, caring & supportive family has the power to transform one’s life. Therefore, at Kutumb, the power of the family is the main tool for our intervention
Kutumb (कुटुंब) is the Hindi word for family. Recognizing that the family is the essential foundation for every living being to not just survive but to flourish, a group of young social workers shared their vision for an NGO where they could put their values into practice with integrity & transparency. After many evenings of discussion, debates & brainstorming, their vision began to take shape and they were inspired to work to make it a reality. It was a daring mission for them, considering that even they had no money for the registration fee. Dr. Ashish and Puja decided to take the risk and put their small earnings into this dream and Kutumb was born. Puja’s brother Vivek also joined this team and this experience inspired him also to take up professional social work as his vocation.
Kutumb was registered as an NGO on December 16, 2002 with the aim to provide a family for anyone in need, without discrimination.
Leaving the security of salaried jobs required a leap of faith. We first started making community visits in the slum area of Varanasi and networking with other small NGOs. Dr. Ashish started a small clinic called ‘Life Care Point’ and focused on the problem of drug addiction, especially in children because many of them even at the age of 9-10 years were addicted to sniffing the Eraser solution. Many of these children lived and worked in the railway station and were either orphaned or were the children of addicted and poor parents. It soon became clear that in order to have an impact, we would need to dedicate programs for early intervention. We began a small childcare program in the slums to give the children a safe and drug-free environment. Very soon we got the insight that without the residential care program our interventions will have a very limited effect. But we needed greater funding to accomplish this goal.
As if our prayers were answered in 2003 when Nicola, who was volunteering in many social projects in Varanasi, was inspired to lend her support to us. This was the beginning of an important and lifelong connection for the founders of Kutumb. With her help, we were able to start the Kutumb Shelter House in 2004 with three young children who were found on the railway platform.
Nicola started creating awareness about Kutumb and the great need we were attempting to address when she returned to Germany. Along with other supporters she established Kutumb-Familie Fur Benaras to help with fundraising and networking. With this increased support we were able to establish an important educational initiative known as Kutumb School Team and expanded Kutumb Baalwadi program.
After this success we shifted our attention on Women Empowerment Programs and this time the help came from France. In 2005, Mr. & Mrs. Michel agreed to fund our small projects through their organization, Unfil Pour Benaras. Again from France, another friend of Kutumb, Elizabeth met us in 2006 and started supporting some Women's Empowerment Projects through her organization ACT & HELP. This gave us a lot of confidence and strength.
After achieving some sustainability & continuity we started more programs for community development. For a long time we dreamed of starting a computer education centre. Once again, a dynamic woman named Sandra from Australia came forward to help. She arranged the necessary resources through the Ipswich City Council and Harmony & Arts. KUTUMB COMPUTER CENTRE took shape in 2007.
With increasing productivity & success came bigger responsibilities. Kutumb had stretched its wings and reached out to more needy people in a very short period of time but it was very obvious that greater expansion was required to meet the tremendous needs of the community. The building we have rented as the base for our activities was adequate for day services but not nearly large enough to provide those services and be a home. The thought of so many children waiting for help on the railway platform inspired us to design our dream project KUTUMB VILLAGE to accommodate a large number of street children in a family atmosphere.
It didn’t take a long time for our children to get an answer to their prayers. In the year 2009 we met Katie Kirkpatrick from USA. Initially she started funding the Community Health Program through her organization Vision Builders and we developed a very good relationship through visits and emails within a very short period. In 2010, Vision Builders decided to offer help for KUTUMB VILLAGE by funding the purchase of a piece of land where we can build the dream home of every Kutumb child. In 2011, the construction of KUTUMB VILLAGE started and within a year we understood that we will need more funds to carry on and sustain this project. At that moment, Vision Builders board members had decided to dissolve the association so we started reaching out to many agencies for funds. The future was looking challenging as we were getting ready to shift to Kutumb Village.
Then, Ms. Smita and Mr. Arun came to Kutumb and decided to join us in our mission. They rejuvenated Vision Builders in USA and it started supporting Kutumb Village project further. A new compassionate community of volunteers and supporters reached out to us which gave us a new energy and motivation and it resulted into conceptualization of new projects and initiatives.
In 2013, when we shifted to Kutumb Village and It was still hard to believe that our children have such a beautiful place to live which they were longing for.
Now with your love, care, support & good wishes, your Kutumb Village is flourishing every day translating all the resources into millions of smiles. We have a girl’s hostel, boy’s hostel, community centre, a pond and a big stage for activities.
It is obvious that all these years since the beginning, Kutumb - familie fur Benaras stood with us creating a big supportive family in Germany. Their love and trust will be keep inspiring us, motivating us. The continuous support from Vision Builders team has shaped our projects in the most efficient manner; without this creating so much happiness around was not possible.
No language in this world can help us in expressing our gratitude towards thousands of our family members across the globe. But we trust that the language of heart would be understood by you all without saying much. We will keep working to make this world a better place to live. Keep your love flowing towards your Kutumb family.