When I landed in Chennai for the first time in 2012 I didn't know I would never leave. My life changed 180 degrees in a blink. I stayed for 6 months as a volunteer for children inneed, but I came back to India. Satish Kumar is only one kid out of many, but he managed to inspire me in ways I'd never imagined. Now I live 4 months a year in Janakipuram, a rural village in Tamil Nadu. The other months I live in London for study and work.
In 2013 I officially started the My name Is Kumar Foundation. This foundation provides a home and education to 37 children in the South of India who would have otherwise been forced into begging. Attending the best private school in the city of Chengalpattu we arm the children with knowledge I believe education is the most effective tool to break the vicious cycle of poverty. My work and study is strongly related to children in need in my eyes they are just like other children who have a right of healthy food, caring and a proper education.
When I arrive at Chennai airport I know to find my way around. The children run to me to greet me and give me a big hug and a kiss. The local community is very happy with our project and they smile when they see me. The people in Chengalpattu already know me andask if I finished my lunch. All those small things make my life in India evenmore beautiful, safe, comforting and happy.
For me India is a country with many different faces that gives me love, hope and strength.
Everyday I look for new opportunities, new chances and new developments for the children of our local community. 'The Buy Rice Back'- a recycled fashion project in one of the many projects that succeeded.
Buy Rice Back are tote bags made out of used rice sacks. These bright coloured rice bags are normally used as a welcome mat or for mopping the persistent dust. Breathing a second life into the rice bags is a tradition one we want to spread around the world. One which through a single purchase can make a difference.
Local tailor Karthick. is employed to turn old rice sacks into totes for charity. Karthick is also in charge with the wonderfully and important task of sewing the school uniforms for the 37children from the foundation.
The profits made from our Buy Rice Back bags are used to house, feed and educate the children in the My name is Kumar Foundation.
I don't have the illusion that I can change the world or the entire poverty in the world, but I know I can change the life of these 37 children and make sure that they get the future they deserve. And give them a prosperous future, an opportunity their parents never had.