Integrity – We are open, honest, and accountable.
Respect – We respect and treat all people as equals.
Excellence – We aim for excellence in everything we do.
Partnership – We believe in creating synergies by working together with all possible stakeholders.
t was the summer of 2013, when three old friends met in Chennai. Prior to this summer, Neelam had spent time in rural Rajasthan with government schools working on school leadership, Santhosh had been running a toy library (Bambaram) in Chennai and Saurabh had just returned after completing a year of study in US. Over a game of Taboo, the conversation turned introspective and thoughts of being fortunate in life resurfaced. We were born to the right parents, who could send us to schools and teach us at home; we had gone to the right schools; were tutored by motivated teachers and had grown up into well-to-do careers. Some other children we grew up with missed out on these things in some form.
But we wanted to share our luck with others. We wanted to look forward and stop other children from losing out to life’s chances. And we wanted to do that in a way that made children happy. Some of our happiest carefree childhood moments were when we were playing! That one game of Monopoly was played by all until it was in tatters. It also taught us a great deal about ‘business’, and Neelam boasts that she was the fastest monopoly money maker in her neighbourhood. Not only was playing fun, it was also mentally stimulating and taught us skills that schools did not.
And that is how we planned and conducted our first few play workshops in two low-income schools in Chennai. Encouraged by the response, we enlisted the support of another friend, Karunesh, and started conducting workshops with out-of-school children in Gurgaon. Our workshops were going great but we were hitting a roadblock in terms of content. We wanted children to have fun and learn skills that were not academic alone – like team work, creativity or problem solving. However, games that teach such skills and that too in local context and language were quite limited and often expensive. So a few months later, we decided to design our own games that would be fun and also inculcate life skills.
We collectively realized that a large number of children in India never play because they have to work and support their families or because they have no toys to play with or because their schools do not have playing spaces or because their parents and teachers think that playing is a waste of time!
We have decided to do our bit to change these reasons and get children to play through Khel Planet. Because children should play!
Neelam is a rebel. That’s why we call her the boss. She is the nervous system that keeps Khel Planet going. She has done it all right from studying at Harvard and IIT to working in both corporate and not-for profit sector. She loves children and is passionate about quality education. She likes to go on adventure trips and spend time with friends.
Santhosh dreams design day-in day-out. He is our heart who wants kids to play. An IIT graduate, he is also addicted to entrepreneurship and has launched several ventures including an online toy library for kids. He believes in simplicity and can easily be found conducting game workshops in schools.
Saurabh is our panic button. He thinks and thinks and thinks. We wonder when he actually works 😉 He was a public sector consultant in his previous avatar and then studied public administration at Harvard University. He loves to sleep and play games. He has the honour of being married to the Boss (Neelam).
Parul is a multi-tasker with a heart of gold. She loves kids and has created amazing content to conduct specialized play workshops to make learning fun. An MBA by education, Parul likes to get hands dirty and be onground.
Every team has a saint, Karunesh is ours. He was part of our founding team and has been working hard without expecting anything in return. A financial and management guy, Karunesh believes when you do good work, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
A teacher, a designer, an artist … Divya has many avatars. With an always smiling face, she loves creating products. Having being an educator in indian setting she feels passionately about her work at Khel Planet.
Rumored to actually be a knight, Druthi Srirama works as a media consultant at Khel Planet, and is currently a high schooler at Santa Clara High School. He loves making short films and drawing/painting.
Founder and Director, Heritage Schools
Founder, SammaaN Foundation
Founder, Bringing Smiles
Entrepreneurship Lecturer, Harvard University
Negotiation Lecturer, Harvard University
COO, City Montessori School
Artist & Game Designer
Board Member, International Women’s Forum
Leadership Lecturer, Harvard University