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Kshana Charitable Trust organises quality entertainment shows for the ‘forgotten’ sections of society
In Sanskrit Kshana means ‘moment’. The aim of the NGO bearing this name is to spread moments of happiness to people who are underprivileged and are forgotten by their more fortunate counterparts. Kshana organises quality entertainment shows for old-age homes, orphanages, spastic societies and other institutions.
The unique idea of offering entertainment to these ‘forgotten’ people came to founder Ritesh Thakkar in 2001 during a college fest. Mr Thakkar was a member of the organising committee and, after the college fest, the group thought of doing more free performances for the needy. “I was staying with my uncle that time,” he said, “when he went to a blind home, it occurred to me that people in such institutions need entertainment and socialising more than others because they are cut off from the rest of the world.” That is when an enthusiastic group of seven or eight students decided to take up the idea seriously.
Kshana was registered as an NGO in 2008, but the preceding years had got it considerable popularity. Since 2001, Kshana has done over 100 entertainment events for its target audiences with a social theme and touched thousands of lives. Its first performance was for Swami Vivekananda Vocational Training Centre. “In the initial days, we experienced a lot of difficulties,” said Mr Thakkar. “People never considered entertainment as a serious mission. They were more inclined to donate for other conventional philanthropic programmes.” But, with time, Kshana’s appeal grew with other NGOs and institutions, who contacted it for organising programmes for the people it worked with.
Today, many corporates seek out Kshana to aid them in their CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. Kshana generally puts up a series of performances and conducts workshops on subjects like personality development, meditation and laughter therapy. Of the founding members, only three have stayed back with the organisation. Volunteers help the members to conduct programmes and workshops, and manage the institution. Kshana also hires spot volunteers for its shows. Most of its committee members are professionals. There are financial analysts, entrepreneurs, engineers and students. Kshana does not require full-time commitment.
“We aim to provide quality entertainment,” said Mr Thakkar, “and we insist on professional performers. There are many artistes who readily perform for free or minimal fees, and are regular at our programmes.” Apart from professionals, Kshana also puts up performances in which children from orphanages and other charitable institutions participate. There are skits, dance shows, orchestras, games and magic shows. “We plan around three events every two months. The duration of events is anything between three to five hours depending upon the theme,” says
Mr Thakkar. The members normally visit the places in advance to figure out the theme and the types of events that would gel with the place and people. Recently, Kshana collaborated with ICICI Prudential for a workshop at Sanjivani Children’s Home in Virar. During Diwali last year, Kshana went to Assisi Bhavan, an old age home in Goregaon, a Mumbai suburb. “There were interactive shows, orchestra and yoga workshops. But the icing on the cake was a retro 1950s-style musical programme which was appreciated by the residents of the home,” said Mr Thakkar.
Kshana’s recent visit to Assisi Bhavan saw the residents of the old-age home brimming with excitement. There was flower-pot painting, movie screening, and a party afterwards. “Entertainment is an important component of human life,” said Mr Thakkar. “We may not notice it, but a life devoid of it is very sad.”
One may volunteer for performing in Kshana’s programmes or aiding in their workshops, or donating money for their activities or sponsor individual events. All donations are exempt under Section 80 (G) of the Income-Tax Act.
Kshana Charitable Trust
Akash Deep Society,
Versova, Andheri West,
Mumbai – 400 058
Tel: 98207 50480