I have often questioned Kapara and my ability to make a success out of it. I was once told by my brother that if you have a business and want to make it work it has to be 100% you. It has to be an embodiment of your character, your style and your values. Whilst textiles and design obviously play an integral role in the brand, they are only really a fragment of a much wider story. Spending months at a time in a world so different from London I couldn't help but become entwined in the individual stories, the lives of the people surrounding me and the hardship that is everywhere in this fast growing yet undeveloped country.
In a bid to give back something to the city that I had worked in and benefitted from, I volunteered to teach English and Maths at the Taabar Street Children Shelter. For anyone who knows me, I recognise that this sounds like a bit of a joke, however anyone doubtful of my teaching abilities could be reassured that all was ok - I was to be an assistant teacher. On day one, I quickly realised the giant mis-communication that had come about between Ramesh (the founder of the NGO) and me. The teacher was me myself and I. To say there was a language barrier is an understatement. I am not sure whose language skills were more basic: my Hindi or their English. For the next two weeks I imagine it was like watching a game of confused charades. It did however improve and by month 4 I felt pretty comfortable in this new role.
My teaching skills aside I had found a place by which I was totally inspired. Not just the team of wonderful people who work at the shelter, but the boys themselves. It is a shelter for rehabilitation, for learning and a place that gives these street children some hope of eventually finding their families.
The boys are aged from 5 -17 and come from the poorest cities all over India. Some are so young that they can't remember where their family are from. These are the boys that have been taken away from their homes to work, the boys that have got lost and ended up living on the streets or boys that have been forced to run away from abusive families. Despite their desperately heartbreaking situations, I have always been blown away by their enthusiasm to learn. These are boys that have been dealt a truly raw deal in life and yet they appear to have an appreciation of the little things in life and willingness to learn that you just don't see in many English school kids.
Taabar is massively underfunded and when I first started there the boys arrived at the shelter sharing everything from toothbrushes and pencils to notebooks. Ever since, Kapara has been dedicated to making a change. Through your purchases we are now able to supply the boys with rucksacks full of school equipment and wash bags. In 2018 we started stitching the boys’ school uniforms. In order to keep up with what seems like ever-growing demand (as the shelter has recently doubled in size) the boys are totally reliant on you so thank you for your continued support.
Through the Taabar Shelter, Kapara has truly found its meaning and purpose.