A question that many have pondered and debated, but only few have made tangible steps to find the answer to. One individual who sits in this minority is Binu Thampy, founder of Cross Culture and the Freedom Centres.
The Freedom Centre is one of 7 programs (Freedom Centres, Edu-care, Vision Rescue, Treehouse (boys), Treehouse (girls), Activity Centre and Business Development Centre) that sit under the Cross Culture umbrella brand. All of these programs work to make a positive difference in peoples lives.
Binu’s upbringing has shaped him towards a life of serving others, but it wasn’t until he had explored his own path which brought him to Kolkata that the seed was really sown as to his purpose in life. Once relocated to Kolkata he started working to connect with communities. At first finding a connection with the children through play, he then started to learn about the slum communities and their needs. A story of speaking with women and their children under a bridge, and realising that three generations of families had literally been born in the spot of their conversation is one of the many moments that spoke to his heart.
Binu started to understand as to how he could help these people, although not necessarily unhappy, he new with education and different life experiences the potential of these individuals could reach new heights… Even start breaking the cycle of the generations before them.
From this ambition and drive, the Freedom Centres were born. Now working with teenagers and adults to up-skill and expose individuals to see further opportunities for their life.
Success stories are heart felt and genuine; teenage girls who have strength in their eyes well beyond their years are taking bold steps to up-skill and thus challenging the Indian cultural gender norms, and young boys with liveliness in their step are finding life skills in the simplest activities like soccer.
Even more than anything, the Freedom Centres fosters something in an individual other organisations and people often easily miss. Over the world we are all born with it, but at some point it fades. This could happen quickly, through a disastrous event, unfortunate upbringing, or maybe it just slowly disappears over time. This thing is called ‘spark’. You see it in in a person’s eye, their step and smile… And the Freedom Centres gives individuals the opportunity to let this spark shine again. It’s an opportunity not everyone has the courage to take, but the ones that do light up the sky.