Social Impact: Kishalay Foundation – Biplab Das, PGP 1999
There is no denying the fact that education is a tool rather a power that can shape an individual’s life and impact society largely. Early education in children is the most talked about topic in the global circles and even developed countries are emphasizing upon it.
A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning and abilities, including cognitive and social development. Kishalay Foundation, founded by Biplab Das in 2013 has made it its mission to provide early education and nutrition to the less fortunate section of the society. The foundation is primarily working in the Sunderban area of West Bengal, which is considered as one of the most extremely poverty-stricken parts of the country.
Biplab and his team are working tirelessly to provide education for children of the area while empowering the youth of the area by providing them jobs as primary educators and facilitators. Kishalay currently has 24 centers across Sunderbans and hopes to increase their reach with more in the coming time.
Biplab quit his corporate role to devote more time to the foundation and make an impact. It is people like him who don’t just simply talk, they walk the path and change the dynamics of a nation like ours.
What is the story behind Kishalay Foundation? How did it all begin?
There is a common perception is that rural students may not be good in studies. I have spent my early periods in a rural area, and have personally experienced the difficulties a rural student faces. I, very early on, realized that it is the quality of early education, which makes all the difference. It is the right pedagogy and techniques with the right learning environment that can create a lasting impact in rural children. With this philosophy in mind I and Saurabh Kumar, both from PGP 1999 batch, decided to form Kishalay Foundation in 2013 and work towards improving learning outcomes in remote rural schools.
What inspired you to leave your corporate job and initiate Kishalay Foundation?
During school days I was inspired by the work of rural transformation-Rangabelia experiment in Sundarban, West Bengal by our teacher Padmashree Tushar Kanjilal, though not directly in early education. Later on, we felt it is early quality education that can only change India from the grassroots, being 70% of the population belonging to the rural areas. ASER findings and other primary education stats also motivated us towards this.
Who are the key team members at the Foundation?
He is currently the Founder CEO of a technology consulting company in USA. He earlier worked as a Senior Executive in Wealth Management at Bank of the West, San Francisco. He has more than fifteen years of experience leading many corporate roles in Product Management, Program Management, Engineering, User Experience, Customer Insights in Finance and Health Care domains. Saurabh has also co-created two mobile apps currently available in various app stores. Saurabh has a passion for leveraging high-quality early childhood education to further social advancement. He also believes in applying technology to improve the quality of education around the globe. Saurabh has an M.B.A from the Indian Institute of Management and a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of technology. Saurabh is the USA contact for fundraising.
Soumitra has been in the IT profession for the last 9 years. He is very active in CSR activities. He is very passionate about sports and recently completed a 15 Kms marathon. He completed his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from IIEST, Shibpur. Soumitra looks into early education pedagogy and sports activities.
He has been working with the Information Technology sector for more than 18 years in business development and marketing. He is passionate about traveling and photography. He looks after all the digital marketing strategy, corporate communications, branding, PR and coordinate CSR activities for the organization. He is a post-graduate in business management.
Primary goals and objective of Kishalay.
Our Mission: To secure the future of young kids in some of the poorest parts of India by providing multifaceted support in education, sports and nutrition.
What We Do –
- Hub and Spoke model to disseminate best practices in early education and nutrition.
- The current focus is on the Sundarban region of West Bengal, one of the poorest parts of the country – where a lack of agriculture and other economic opportunities are compounded by poor infrastructure.
- 3 Key Focus Areas – a. Early Education: 100% Literacy b. Nutrition: zero malnutrition c. Sports: physical and mental strength.
Results Till Date –
- Operating 24 Learning Hubs, directly impacting 750 children
- Indirectly benefiting 5000+ children through partnerships with local Government primary schools
- Effective early education ecosystem involving different community stakeholders
- Sundarban Change-makers group formation to create a strong regional template
- Sustainable Social Enterprise Model
- Impact Areas-Pedagogy, Nutrition, Preventive Health, Gender Equality & Financial Inclusion
How is Kishalay changing the early education system/ culture in Sundarbans.
Initially, there was resistance. So, we tried to gain trust and apply change management ideas. My childhood in a rural background also helped. Mostly children of farmers and daily wage laborers. We also have a good percentage of children from the minority community.
We are dedicated towards providing holistic education, to improve the learning outcome of the kids. Though we are giving emphasis on teaching in English, education is provided inline the rural environment. We need to see a change in rural thinking and creating intellectual capital, out of rural areas. Not just getting educated and migrating to cities.
Right now, we are working on creating a template for rural early education transformation in Sunderbans. With more support, we can replicate this model in other parts of Bengal.
People who have helped you or influenced you to take on this journey.
Work by Ramji Raghavan of Agastya Foundation we find inspiring. Also been influenced by Bunker Roy of Barefoot College.
Is there any Give/ Ask of alums?
Would earnestly appeal to wider alumni to come forward and join hands with this initiative and support us to scale up this model across other parts of Bengal and in other states.
How can alums or the alum community engage with Kishalay Foundation?
Your sponsorship can help change the future of many rural children. We are currently looking to raise funds for the following purposes.
- Sponsor Food for 1 Hub (USD 25 per Month) – Fruits and Eggs twice a week – Directly target malnourished kids with some grocery support
- Sponsor Food and Supplies for 1 Hub (USD 50 per Month) – Fruits and Eggs twice a week – Directly target malnourished kids with some grocery support – Sports items and Edutoys -Reading supplies
- Sponsor Food for 1 Hub (USD 100 per Month) – Fruits and Eggs twice a week -Directly target malnourished kids with some grocery support -Sports items and Edutoys – Reading Supplies -1 Full-Time Teacher
Kishalay Foundation is trying to make an impact by bringing positive change in society. I would urge the alum community of IIMB to come forward and donate to the Foundation to make a difference.
Website link: http://kishalayfoundation.org/
Kishalay Foundation –
Address: 4, Bhowmick Park, Kamrabad, Sonarpur, Kolkata – 700150 ;
Nodal Centres: Godkhali & Gosaba (Sunderban)