KBF and Friends of KBF – the story so far
The Kolkata Bhalobashi Foundation (KBF) was set up in 2006 by Amar Khalid in a slum of Kolkata (Calcutta). Its aim was, and still is, to facilitate an education for children living in the slum, whose families would otherwise be unable to afford this.
This is achieved by providing a basic education in English and Bengali in order for the children to reach a standard where they can be admitted to the local formal school. Admission to this school has a small fee in addition to the cost of books, stationery and uniform, which is covered by KBF.
…. Here’s some words from Amar about how it all began
“I started by going into the slum with my guitar and a few biscuits, gathering the children around me. We sang songs and they learned a bit of English.
Then the local people gave us a bamboo shack, sadly, soon after, this was burned down, so we moved to a building that was lent to us by a local social club, there wasn’t much space, but we managed to cram in 45 children”
I met my friend Cathy back in 2004, and by 2011, she had managed to set up a small sponsorship programme among her friends in the UK, we are all so grateful for this support”
And from Cathy, who set up Friends of KBF in the UK ….
“In 2013, we took our first group out to visit the school and provide a play scheme for the children. It was a brilliant experience and from there, the sponsorship programme really began to grow. Friends of KBF was started by myself and two others, initially just as a bank account to raise money for the work of KBF”
The work of KBF has continued to grow. KBF acquired its first rented building and this opened up opportunities that had not been possible before. A Saturday club was started for children that couldn’t come to KBF during the week. This now regularly gets almost 200 children attending!
In 2015, a children’s club started up in the local red light district too.
At the same time, Amar was beginning to care for people he found dying and abandoned on the streets, cleaning their wounds and taking them to the local government hospital.
Back in the UK, Friends of KBF were working closely with another organization called Life Association, and in 2015, Amar managed to open a hospice with them, so that some of these people could be taken in and cared for.
Some would be able to die with dignity and some, with a bit of tender loving care, went on to recover!
In 2017, Friends of KBF was registered as a charity in its own right and continues to provide funding and support for KBF in Kolkata.
Please read on to find out more about the work today….AND, if you are able to support us in our work of supporting people in Kolkata, then please do get in touch.
Thank you 😊
Cathy, Amar and the team at KBF
For those of you who are interested, “bhalobashi” means “love” in Bengali…. this is the theme that binds all of these projects together….KBF is all about demonstrating love in very practical ways to some of the poorest in Kolkata.
Who knows what the future may hold?!