July 2023


Since Uddami was created in 1999 by Alison Saracena and Bryan Forst, several hundred young people from the poorest neighborhoods in central Kolkata have been taught computer skills – for free – that they would never have had access to otherwise. Government schools do not expose their students to computers – only private schools for families with money get to acquire those skills, which are now so taken for granted.

Uddami India Foundation (UIF), as the organization became legally incorporated in India, steadily grew over the years, found permanent housing at their current address, and grew more ambitious as time passed. Spoken English was offered as an adjunct course, as frequently entry-level jobs are performed in English. A Life Skills class was added as well, so students could learn how to handle themselves in situations to which they were not accustomed, such as working under a supervisor and interacting with customers, how to become more self-confident and how to build safe relationships.

Since inception, Uddami (US) benefited from a wide range of donors and volunteers as well as grants from funding agencies in the US and the EU. UIF remained on a steady modest course until the untimely death of its program director, Rabia Khatoon, in 2018.  Her death required an immediate intervention to legally keep the doors of the computer school open.  That intervention was led by one of UIF’s Trustees, Harshamanji Nanda, and the school continued on a somber, yet positive note.  Harsha subsequently left her government career to become the current Executive Director, as noted in a prior newsletter.

Her leadership has since led to an amazing expansion of job-oriented offerings including basic bookkeeping, computer teaching, certified nursing assistant (CAN) training, and home tailoring. Other expansion programs include Feminine Hygiene community outreach, including free period pads for students and staff; Gender Resources community outreach; mental health counseling for students and their families; and job placement assistance.

Uddami India Foundation Life Skills Class

Such expansion, understandably, required expanded funding and Uddami (US) has been stressed to keep up with the necessary support. In the last two years, UIF has partnered with another US-based nonprofit – Her Future Coalition – which also serves disadvantaged young people of Kolkata, specifically sex-trafficked women, and has hired UIF to supply a computer teacher, Spoken English teacher, and Life Skills instructor for their own beneficiaries. Her Future Coalition is a much larger and more prosperous organization and is better suited to help sustain UIF as they continue their partnership.

As Uddami (US) is under the dissolution process in the State of California, we can no longer accept donations. However, new donations for UIF can be directed via two avenues:

UIF HFC partnership meeting 2023

It has been my honor and privilege to serve as Chairperson of Uddami (US) since 2018. Since my first visit to Kolkata in January, 2016, I have returned six times for extended stays, including at the time of Rabia’s death. Kolkata and UIF have become my second home, and the staff at UIF are now my own family, as I am theirs. We are forever bonded. And Alison and Bryan have much to be proud of in the success of their initial kernel of compassion for Kolkata’s poorest youth having grown like a sunflower always facing the source of light.

I implore you to continue donating to Uddami India Foundation – your generosity goes so much farther than you can even imagine and the results over the years truly have been life changing. I am witness to that.

When one door closes, another opens. This door – Uddami – is closing, but please proceed confidently through the new door with Her Future Coalition.

With deepest gratitude and respect,

Marci Radin, former Chairperson, Uddami (US)

When Bryan and I started Uddami in 1999 our idea was simple – provide skills that would lead to a job and a better life for young people from disavantaged communities in Kolkata. Over the years our goals changed and so did Uddami.

Uddami has never stopped changing, expanding and evolving. The project today has a much broader vision than we ever imagined and needs a more experienced fiscal sponsor to continue the work that we started almost 25 years ago.

Her Future Coalition (HFC) is the perfect partner for Uddami, now known as Uddami India Foundation (UIF). They have the knowledge and expertise that UIF needs to continue to be successful and flourish, expanding their presence in the Kolkata community and beyond.

Although we stepped away almost a decade ago, feeling that founders can often hold an organization back, we never stopped watching proudly as the UIF team spread their wings and took flight. We completely support this new partnership and urge you to help continue their valuable work in the community:

Alison Saracena and Bryan Forst, Founders of Uddami
Bryan Forst, Alison Saracena, Harshamanjari Nanda and Marci Radin (2022)

Uddami India Foundation empowers the disadvantaged for sustainable livelihoods. Visit their website to find out more: