Education for Street Children...Footsteps to Freedom.
What is ‘Khushi Feet’?
Khushi Feet is an exciting charity (Registered Charity Number: 1150339) based in Kent (Faversham) which raises money and awareness for schools for street children in Kolkata. It was established by Emily Cook (aged 18, in March 2012), in response to visiting the street schools in Kolkata with a team from Faversham Baptist Church (Summer 2011).
“In the Summer of 2011, I went to Kolkata, India with a team from Faversham Baptist Church and had the opportunity to work in schools for street children. I was fascinated by how the volunteer teachers ran the schools with such limited resources. After returning, I wanted to do something to raise awareness and funding for these street children and their schools. My vision is to get as many people as possible involved in Khushi Feet’s fundraising activities and to help change young lives in Kolkata.” - Emily Cook
What does ‘Khushi Feet’ mean?
The children at the street school have very few clothes and run around barefoot. At the same time they are some of the happiest children you could ever meet! ‘Khushi’ is the Bengali word for ‘happy’. In having some fun while raising money and showing we care for these street children, we too can feel 'khushi'!
Education for Street Children
GNCEM (the Good News Childrens' Education Mission) aims to provide street children with a basic education. They run seven regular Schools, and two Mobile Schools in and around the following areas of Kolkata: Ajoynagar, Balkapara, Basirhat, Bhagabanpur, Daspara, Godindopur, Hatibagan, Malancha, and Pathershesh. GNCEM do not charge for tuition (unlike other Indian schools) as all the schools are run for children from extreme poverty or slum conditions. The Mobile Schools are run for children left out on the crowded streets of Kolkata’s city centre. Many of these children are orphans. Every morning, the volunteer teachers wake up at 5am to prepare food for the children. GNCEM then pick up the children (who can be spared as beggars) from the streets of Kolkata. If children have a parent, GNCEM support the parents and explain how an education will benefit their child. At the school, the children are given a simple blue shirt to wear as their school uniform. They are washed, educated, and loved. They are also fed a proper meal before returning to the streets – this fills them up and stops them needing to beg for food. GNCEM also run a boys’ and girls’ hostel where some of the children from the Mobile School eventually stay (with any parents’ permission). Here, they experience a safe and caring educational environment.
Footsteps to Freedom
This is Khushi Feet's mission statement. They (like GNCEM) believe that the a street child’s poverty and illiteracy can be overcome with good education. A good education will help them off the street and into a proper job when they are older, giving them their first footsteps to freedom. Thanks to GNCEM, some children have already gone on to become teachers. GNCEM already work with a total of 1600 children who love school and thrive off learning and creativity. What these schools do is incredible, however their resources and facilities are limited and unfortunately there are still so many left out on the streets, in desperate need of an education. All the money Khushi Feet raises currently supports GNCEM schools.
Fundraising and Events
Khushi Feet offers people the opportunity to take part in exciting fundraising activities, helping to change the lives of many street children in doing so! Khushi Feet love getting involved with our local community, and as a result, many schools, clubs, groups and individuals support the charity. Keep an eye out for blue footprints and Khushi the Cow (the official Khushi Feet mascot) – she can often be seen out and about in the town!
Festival Weekend: 13th-15th July 2012
The first 'festival' fundraising weekend was held in Faversham during July 2012, involving schools, pubs, shops and the general public. Events included, a Khushi Feet Gig, Khushi Feet Coffee Morning, Indian Cooking Demonstrations, Henna Tattooing, an Indian Dance Display, Bollywood and Classical Indian Dance Workshops, the Street School Experience, Slumdog Millionaire Film Screening, Khushi Fit, Khushi The Cow’s Adventure Play Session, an open Mic night, and a Concert for Kolkata. The weekend raised almost £6000 (half a million Rupees).
Khushi Does Bollywood: Saturday 29th June 2013
'Khushi Does Bollywood' debuted at Faversham Carnival in October 2012. On Saturday 29th June 2013 Khushi Feet attemped to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Bollywood dance. The world record of 4,428 people was set in Mumbai, India on 1st March 2012. Khushi Does Bollywood was an ambitious attempt to better this with a simple but hugely enjoyable dance designed for all ages. Around 1,500 people were present on a gloriously sunny day at the Abbey School in Faversham and over £7000 was raised.
Cycle to Kolkata: March - September 2014
In 2014, Khushi Feet virtually cycled to Kolkata by encouraging people, regardless of geographical location, to get on their bikes and cycle as many miles as they can. They launched the project on Friday 14th March when Khushi The Cow kick-started the project by cycling the first mile of our virtual bike ride with MP Hugh Robertson (Minister for the 2012 Olympic Games). They celebrated the end of their Cycle to Kolkata on Saturday 6th September. A team of riders cycled from Margate to Faversham to make up the last few miles. They arrived in Faversham Town Centre to be greeted by Khushi The Cow and the local press. They collectively cycled over 6200 miles and raised a massive £4280. This money was put towards the cost of a new school bus for the GNCEM mobile school. This means GCNEM can continue to transport the street children to school safely.
UPCOMING EVENT: Gala Dinner with Doctor Who and EastEnder's star Louise Jameson
You are cordially invited to Khushi Feet's Gala Dinner...
- Guest of Honour: Louise Jameson (Award-winning actress and director, Doctor Who and Eastenders star)
- Meal prepared by: Corinne's Creative Kitchen & Chetna Makan (Contestant on this year's BBC1 Great British Bake Off)
- Entertainment: Arunima Kumar (India’s leading and most versatile Kuchipudi dancer)
When: Saturday 29th November 2014. Doors Open: 7pm
Where: West Faversham Community Centre, Kent ME13 7RH
Dress Code: Formal
Your ticket will include a welcome drink and a three course meal, entertainment and a chance to hear from our special guest, Louise Jameson. Available from: www.khushifeet.org.uk
Contact details and keeping up-to-date:
Phone: 01795 538622