Tag - charity

Nimaya Foundation: Transforming the Future

nimaya blog image

“‘Nimaya’ means opportunity,” shares Samyak Chakrabarty, co-founder of Nimaya Foundation.  He, along with his fellow co-founder, Ayesha Thapar, have been creating such opportunities for the children of Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir Primary.

The foundation’s name “reflects our goals of empowering by providing opportunity,” he elucidates. Created in 2012, this Mumbai-based NGO aimed solely at empowering women “from under-resourced communities by enabling them to use their skills in entrepreneurial contexts and achieve economic independence.”

Dharavi, a paradoxical balance of under-resources but high efficiency of work, became Nimaya’s focus area.  “It is also a very enterprising community, thus, we felt that there is a lot of scope to uplift people here,” he adds.

The plight of the school was brought to their notice by a lawyer who incidentally had done his own primary schooling there. Once the goal was set – to ensure these bright Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe children continued to get an education – the founders began to build a solid framework for the Marathi-medium school to blossom in. “We engage with educationists who help us better develop the school’s curriculum and introduce new subjects that the children have not been exposed to.”

Samyak is also the Managing Trustee of Thincquisitive Foundation, an organization that undertakes projects to effect positive change. He associated it with Nimaya’s initiative to support the school. The result – an enhanced curriculum including subjects such as sports, arts, spoken English, music, dance, general knowledge and an introduction to technology – now allowing the children a holistic educational experience for the children.

Constantly striving to offer the children unique experiences, Nimaya has organized enjoyable, imaginative events such as the Harley Davidson Mumbai Riders Club Christmas party. This particular event was made possible thanks to a donor who is a member of the club.

With a small unit of four people devoting themselves to improving the quality of life of the women and children of this Dharavi community, the involvement is entirely hands-on. “We interact with these communities on a weekly basis,” he asserts. “We are actually launching our pilot programme this year,” he says, referring to the entrepreneurial programme for the women of the Dharavi community. “They are a group of women whose children attend Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir. They are already showing a great deal of promise and are excited to kick-off their business training in September.”

These women were selected using specific criteria. “They had to be below a certain income bracket, have a desire to start their own business, know basic reading/writing/mathematics and be able to commit to a year’s worth of training and full-time work,” Samyak elucidates. “The current pilot project features 8 women who want to learn tailoring so they can someday launch their own brand of clothes. They are from a low-income background, have two-three children on average and are very enterprising. They are Marathi-speaking and are eager to contribute to their household incomes and further their children’s educations.”

The mentoring programme is set in place. “We have two tailors who have been working in the social space, teaching tailoring to impoverished adolescents for 22 years. They will be training our group of women. We also have a business trainer, who is a fluent Marathi speaker, and experienced with working with rural women. They will be teaching them the basics of starting a business.”

The programme is three months long, with 2 hours of training 5 days a week. “This will alternate between basic stitching techniques and embroidery. One day a week, they will be taught business basics; this includes book-keeping, budgeting, etiquette training for client meetings and idea-generation,” he lists.

“We plan to recognize these communities’ potential by building upon their skills and helping them break free from their current socio-economic situations,” he concludes.

We wish Nimaya Foundation and its beneficiaries the very best through their on-going campaign on Ketto, and for the future. And, though we repeat ourselves – may their tribe increase!

Bend It Like Bollywood! (Tigi Foundation)

TIGI Foundatioin leaderboardWe’re counting down to the star-studded football charity match that’s happening at the Cooperage Football Grounds in Mumbai this Sunday evening! The testosterone levels are rising…! Celebrities like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Imran Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Tiger Shroff, Sohail Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Dino Morea, Marc Robinson and so many more will be on the battlefield this monsoon. There’s going to be plenty of estrogen pumping through the field as well, with Kiran Rao, Nargis Fakhri, Hazel Keech, Elli Avram and Kiara Advani lacing up their cleats as well!

Here’s the entire player line-up: Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Imran Khan, Kiran Rao, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Rahul Bose, Sohail Khan, Tiger Shroff, Sushanth Singh, Ram Sampat, Karanvir Bohra,  Armaan Jain, Hazel Keech, Kunal Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Elli, Kiara, Raj Kundra, Karan Wahi, Dino Morea, Shoojit Sircar, Marc Robinson, Caesar Gonsalves, Karan Mehra, Shabir Ahluwalia, Sachiin Joshi, Ritwik Bhattacharya, Vikram Thapa, Ameet Gaur, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Vikram Singh. Whew! Everyone’s coming together to help Tigi Foundation raise funds and build a shelter for Mumbai’s abandoned animals.

If you’re wondering what ‘TIGI’ means, it’s an acronym for ‘Trust In Goodness Inside’ and is also the name of a much-beloved pet cat belonging to the Khan household. Tigi Foundation is a wonderful non-profit organisation begun by Nuzhat Khan in 2012 and is supported by her son, actor Imran Khan, and brother, activist/actor Aamir Khan. Nuzhat Khan, a psychoanalyst by profession, has nurtured over a hundred animals at her Pali Hill home over the years, and felt the need to do more. Thus began Tigi Foundation. May its tribe increase!

This celebrity-packed football charity event aims to raise funds and build a state-of-the-art animal welfare shelter near Mumbai that will provide TLC for a hundred animals at a time. To achieve this goal, the foundation is offering some rather exciting rewards, like an opportunity to participate in the charity football match itself, or toss the coin at the start of the game, or attend a cooking session with Kiran Rao, or a workout with Imran Khan, a drive in his Ferrari, or even a chance to visit the sets of Aamir Khan’s latest film!

Here’s the entire list of rewards:

500      Get a ticket to the game (Quantity – 1000)

5000    Get an exclusive digital photo-collage of all the players at the event (Unlimited) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

7500      Click a selfie with your favorite actor at the game- Rs 7500 (Unlimited) + Get a ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

10,000   Get a cooking session with filmmaker Kiran Rao (Quantity – 1) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 12500 Toss the match coin prior to the game- (Quantity-1) + Get a ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

15000 Get a copy of the Dhoom 3 DVD with a personal autograph from Aaamir Khan & Abhishek Bachchan  (Quantity – 3) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

20000    Get a signed jersey of both teams (Quantity – 3) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 50,000   Either work-out with Imran Khan at his personal gym or a drive around Mumbai with him in his Ferrari (Quantity – 2) + Get a ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 75,000         Get a chance to hang out with Aamir Khan on the sets of his next film ‘P.K.’  (Quantity – 1) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Rs 1,00,000  Get to be part of the team and play in the upcoming game on 20th July (Quantity – 1) + A ticket to the game + A TIGI Foundation T-shirt (Unlimited)

Want a chance to be part of the fun?!

The Baked Good (The Bake Collective interview)

bake collective
Who knew desserts and social causes could blend so delectably?!

The Ketto team has the deepest respect for red velvet brownies. We also have a high regard for strawberry cheesecake. And chocolate truffles…they do such a lot of good for society. And we don’t just mean how yummy they are for the tummy! What on earth are we talking about? Meet The Bake Collective, a bunch of bakers and volunteers with delicious magic in their hands and goodness in their souls.

We caught up with co-founders Charlene Vaz and Kavita Gonsalves and got to know more about The Bake Collective’s mouth-watering bake sales for social causes, the NGOs they’ve raised funds for and how their campaign for Light of Life Trust came about on Ketto.

Tell us more about the people behind The Bake Collective.

We are an informal network of bakers and volunteers who crowdfund for social causes. The Bake Collective was co-founded by Charlene Vaz and Kavita Gonsalves.

Kavita is a sustainability consultant who works with a number of NGOs and is a part-time lecturer teaching Sustainable Design. Charlene works as a Strategic Global Account Manager at Dimension Data and also moonlights as a Chocolatier and founder of ‘Charlene and Chocolate factory’.

Our team of bakers and volunteers form the backbone of The Bake Collective.  And our well-wishers in India and abroad bolster us further.

Where do you operate from? Any plans to expand further?

The Bake Collective spreads the delicious word about upcoming bake sales and gathers volunteers via social media primarily. In addition, we use our personal and extended networks to connect with the world and crowdfund for our social causes. We don’t limit the work to our cities – Mumbai and Bangalore. For example, a friend in Australia held a bake sale in her neighborhood to support one of our campaigns.

In 2013, The Bake Collective’s Bangalore chapter was set-up. We completely encourage people to start a The Bake Collective chapter in their own cities and towns to work for causes close to their heart.

How did you come upon combining baking and social causes?

It all began as a Facebook chat with a friend who works in the social development sector. We had a brainwave about a bake sale to raise money for one of their causes. It made complete sense to us. We both loved to bake and wanted an excuse to do so. So why not do it for a good cause? That’s how The Bake Collective was born in 2012.

It started as a one-time event that did so well that soon after, we had NGOs and non-profits, in the start-up phase, asking us to help them with their work. We also had many local and home bakers and volunteers asking us when the next event was. Thanks to that demand, we are now two years in the running and organise bake sales every 2-3 months for charitable causes.

The Bake Collective recognises the privilege of being able to help others through compassionate baking, making a difference to someone’s life, someone less fortunate than us.

Any mouth-watering goodies we should know about?! What are the most popular ones?

There are many favourites – red-velvet brownie, meringue, upside-down pineapple cake, cheese cookies, beautifully decorated fondant cupcakes, cowboy cookies, chocolate truffle, snicker doodles, good ol’ sponge and  coconut cake, strawberry cheesecake, fruit crumbles…the list goes on! We’ve also got eggless, butterless, sugarless and vegan options, and offer savory snacks as well.

TBC’s supported several NGOs. Please tell us how you began working with each of them and what the experience was like.

The Bake Collective supports NGOs that are in the start-up phase, typically in their second year of running. We have fundraised for Milaap, Urmi Foundation, World For All, Make A Difference, Mimaansa, Light of Life Trust and Voice of Stray Dogs.

By doing this, TBC has supported shelter homes, orphanages, helped purchase teaching material, furniture, books, etc. for rural schools, toys for children with disabilities, imparted vocational training for candidates from rural areas, funded small-town women entrepreneurs (skilled artisans), helped build water-purification systems, toilets, water connections and solar-lighting systems for rural homes, arranged transport for sending disabled children to school, been involved in the welfare of street animals… this list goes on too!

How did the collaboration with Light of Life Trust come about?

Light of Life Trust heard about the work of The Bake Collective and approached us to support their Anando project which supports teaching materials in rural schools.

How did you come across Ketto?

Kavita, the co-founder of TBC, happened to meet Varun, the founder of Ketto, at one of Ketto’s fundraisers for Shweta Katti, the first girl from Mumbai’s red-light area who got to go to a US university. This led to a collaboration between Light of Life Trust and Ketto.

What are you planning for TBC in the future?

TBC will continue to work with local and start-up NGOs.  In the process, we hope to encourage other individuals and have them organise their own bake sales in their communities, whether at the workplace or at a garage sale.

We also hope to connect with commercial establishments like cafes, restaurants and corporations by having TBC bake sales, vouchers, contributing baked goods to our causes or having a non-day event where a portion of a food bill is contributed towards a social cause. We want people to contribute in the best way they know how, and in the process, build a more compassionate and fairer world.

If you would like to volunteer with TBC or even fundraise for your cause, get in touch via email at thebakecollective@gmail.com or drop them a message on their FB page 

Visit or support the scrumptious TBC campaign on Ketto here!

Varun Sheth: Financier, Entrepreneur, Giver


With a strict, no-nonsense attitude towards making charity simple, Ketto’s Founder and CEO Varun Sheth wanted to cut the drama around charity and giving, to make it fun and accessible to the young, progressive population of India. After graduating from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics in Bombay and working at leading financial institutions like ICAP and SCPL, it’s not surprising that the idea for starting Ketto came to Varun at a TED conference. A strong background in finance, a passion for crowdfunding in India and the drive to create something revolutionary led Varun to quit his job and begin laying the foundation of Ketto.

After months of research, Ketto was founded on August 15, 2012 and in a short span of time, has created an admirable niche for itself, helping empower the youth of this country to effect social change.

Here is Varun’s take on the evolving landscape of crowdfunding websites, the importance of digital media and his vision for Ketto.


How did the idea behind starting Ketto come to you?
The social has always been of interest to me and being a seasoned finance professional, the thought always was how I could marry those two concepts. That’s when the idea of using the internet as a platform to raise funds for social causes came by. The thought came across while I was attending a TED conference.

What was your vision for Ketto then and what is it today?
The vision has not changed much. The thought was pretty simple: to get the online youth of today to give back but do it in a fun way. The idea was to make giving cool, simple, reliable and easy.

How has the crowdfunding landscape changed in India?
Crowdfunding as a term is fairly new to India but the concept has been widely used all over India since centuries in local communities to build temples, schools and hospitals . Over 30 years back in 1976, Shyam Benegal collected Rs 2 lakh from 500,000 farmers to fund Amul’s ad film Manthan. It’s only now has the industry is seen getting relevance as it has become more organized and the internet has allowed it to become more and more global.

What role has Ketto played in changing the dynamics of philanthropy in India?
Ketto has created a unique bridge between the 100 million young Indian professionals who are online and internet savy and the 300 million people in India who don’t have access to basic social services such as education, healthcare, sanitation by using the access of NGO networks and providing these NGOs the necessary funds.

Can you highlight Ketto’s achievements in the past one year.
Raising funds to send luge athlete Shiva Keshavan to the winter Olympics in Sochi this year and sending Shweta Katti, the daughter of a sex worker in Mumbai, to the US for her undergraduation and many more.

How do you leverage your background in finance for Ketto?
It helps creating the right pitches and campaigns, and understanding the customers better on their expectations and how to best manage them. My finance background also helps me in speaking to corporate donors and
creating partnerships with them.