06-28458425 [email protected]

WHO WE ARE

Santosh Gurunath
Chairman

"I am the chairman of the board of S4KI. I also work as a consultant with McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam. I am passionate about improving education in India to ensure equal opportunies to all."

Gitta Bartling
Vice Chairman

"I am the vice chairman of foundation School 4 Kids India. Education is the key for progress, that’s why I’m working for this great organization."

Bryan van Dansik
Secretary

"I am involved as the secretary of the board of S4KI. With my roots in education, I hope to improve the opportunities for disadvantaged children in India through S4KI."

Kees Filius
Treasurer

"I am the treasurer of the foundation. I live in Heemstede, I’m married and I have three sons. My background is in finance, as you will presume. I really like this job, to do something good. I’m curious about the work in fundraising instead of working in India itself. I hope I can give valuable advice as much as needed.

Gerda Kappert
Founder

Gerda Kappert is working together with a group of volunteers to get awareness for the organization and to fundraise money so that every child can get good education. The activities in India are carried out by Gerda Kappert.

Harini Pattabhiraman
Operations manager

"As operations manager of this foundation, I am involved in fundraising and strategizing. I also work as a researcher at Tata Steel in IJmuiden and live in Heiloo. I was born and raised in India and would like to ensure that education is available for everyone in India."

HISTORY

In 2009 I travelled to India for the first time for an extraordinary round trip which stirred my emotions constantly. India became very close to my heart and everything I saw affected me deeply´┐Ż A country of extremes: desert landscapes with amazingly colourful flowers and saris, the smell of cow dung mixed with the scent of the most delicious spices and curries, poverty and wealth, care for each other and social exclusion due to the cast system. But what touched me most, were the Indians themselves: they are really emotional people by nature. It struck me how easily Indians share, even when they have so little. I was invited for dinner several times by people who live their life in great poverty. Not with the intention to gain something out of the invitation, but simply because hospitality is a natural part of Indian society. Despite financial problems they seem to be much more carefree in their everyday lives than we are.

Often I felt deeply saddened to see begging children living on the streets, young girls prostituting themselves, begging mothers carrying their babies, hollow-eyed people with only a cloth to lie on. Exceptional to notice, when looking beyond, that even in slums children are laughing, playing, running, jumping and singing.

But what touched me most, were the Indians themselves: they are really emotional people by nature.

After arriving back in the Netherlands from my travels, it was hard for me to re-adapt: the difference was simply too big. Everything I had experienced over there so intensively kept running through my mind, making me realize how blessed I am having been born in a country like the Netherlands. Educational opportunities are one of the privileges we easily take for granted. In India I have experienced firsthand the kind of problems schools are dealing with every day. Few (educated) teachers, school fees exceeding most parents' budgets, improvised facilities and a lack of good teaching equipment... Thinking about their situation the plan was born to go back and help out. With my educational experience of 12 years teaching at a primary school, I would be able to make a difference for schools in India!

During 2010 I focused on raise funding. I started a project "Cooking for education in India", in which I prepare authentic Indian food for groups of people at a location of their choice: delicious food and lots of good conversation provide great opportunities to share my passion for India and its educational needs.

With the profits I made through these cooking events and during sponsoring activities schools I returned to India and from July till October 2010 I worked at the Wallaby Homeschool in Varanasi: an English speaking primary school aiming to educate the poorest local children. A wonderful experience! I was able to teach children, provide the school with educational materials and coach the team of teachers. Since I was the only one professionally trained to be a teacher, the coaching came naturally. The team was happy with my input and their new educational insights, while I watched their motivation, flexibility and above all their love for their jobs with admiration.

In December 2010 I returned to the Wallaby Homeschool again to provide them with textbooks and to help the teachers get started on working with these new teaching methods. Back in the Netherlands I realized that I wanted to do more to help Indian children in need of education. Together with an enthusiastic team I started the foundation School 4 Kids India. It is wonderful now to be able to contribute structurally to better education and future opportunities for the children of India.

Gerda Kappert

Founder and director of School 4 Kids India