Basis offers homes for children rescued from harm, in a community that provides the environment and resources to heal and take charge of their own lives.
Basis’ approach is holistic: the development of children mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually will lead to the best chance of success in life.
Basis will not discriminate based on intelligence, caste, religion, gender, or physical abilities.
Thomas Saverimuthu, founder of Basis, brings over twenty years of personal and professional experience to this charitable venture.
The dream of founding Basis one day occurred early in Thomas’ life. Thomas is fourth of seven sons in a family from Bangalore, India. When Thomas was just fourteen their mother died. Everything changed. Thomas was sent to an orphanage with his two younger brothers. Food and shelter were available here, and some vocational training.
Patrick and Janet, a missionary couple from England, had volunteered to teach English at the orphanage and needed a translator; Thomas, having learned English at school, became their translator. This couple took Thomas and his brothers under their wing and even helped them return to school so they could finish their education. Because of Patrick and Janet Thomas experienced something lacking at the institution of the orphanage: real love and encouragement. How different it was to be treated as persons of worth! How different it was to be treated as persons with potential!
Thomas thrived in this new context. During his time with Patrick and Janet he also honed his musical abilities, becoming a guitarist – a gift which he shared with many.
In his mid-twenties, a vision to create something of beauty and quality in his lifetime led Thomas to establish a successful cane furniture manufacturing business. Thomas’ furniture became known to be the best made in India. His success with this business was in part due to his unique approach to his employees: he cared deeply about the details of their lives and their well-being.
These employees lives were changed forever because of the opportunity afforded them by Thomas’ venture and because of his compassionate leadership. One cannot underestimate the ripple effect of such an approach when one employee’s income alone is often supporting many.
Thomas’ desire to learn new things at all times resulted in a career change a decade later. Thomas left India with his young family in 1998 to move to Europe, where he worked as an IT specialist and software developer in the automotive industry in Germany and in the IT sector in Ireland. Thomas grew professionally and continued to work with deep integrity, dedication, and inventiveness across the board.
Now, having been given so much in his life – beginning with the care and compassion shown to him by Patrick and Janet in his teen years – Thomas is establishing Basis in India, a children’s village where child survivors will have the space and resources they need to heal and recover as they prepare to become strong persons, ready to face their future and to become a part of the communities in which they live.
In October 2015 Brinda Adige agreed to serve as a director for Basis in India - a very exciting development.
Brinda is a pioneer in anti-trafficking in Bangalore, India. She initiated India’s first child protection helpline in 1997 in the Bangalore Commissioner’s Office, and headed this unit until 2006. She also initiated, spearheaded, and facilitated India's first gender sensitization training program for Karnataka State Police from 2000-2006, supported by UNICEF. This was included as one of the achievements by the Government of Karnataka. She also initiated and spearheaded a three year training program for Elected Women Representatives to address and curb human trafficking in their constituencies and bring about good governance; this program was supported by the Scottish Parliament’s International Innovative Development Program Fund.
In 2007 Brinda was the Karnataka State Coordinator of the national organization, The Hunger Project.
In 2010 Brinda was a recipient of the Ford Motor Company Fellowship for Community Leaders, and in 2011 was nominated as one of the 50 most influential person in Bangalore by DNA India, a national Hindi newspaper.
Her mission includes:
Brinda has spoken to a 10,000 person audience at the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh. She appeared as a main guest on two BBC TV programmes, titled The Road to G8. She has spoken at the Scottish Parliament, advised on the Scottish Government’s new South Asia funding programme, met UK ministers for International Development, and advised many NGO’s working in India. Most recently she was invited by NIDOS (Network of International Development Organizations in Scotland) to speak at their AGM on North – South Partnerships.
Her recent work includes the Global Concerns India (GCI) Leadership program, which leads the way for a new model of engaging impoverished populations in India – especially women and children – in breaking the cycle of and silence on violence. GCI’s ongoing Dialogue Action Program and Leadership Advancement Program encourages independent, sustainable approaches where participants are given the tools to innovate ideas and work together with members of their own community as well as collaborate meaningfully and on equal footing with those outside of their community.
Basis Children’s Village will be a community of five family homes caring for children ages 6-18. Each home will accommodate up to eight children each, as well as a trained carer. There will be two or three small cottages for single mothers and their children. Medical and psychological support will be provided.
A community centre, an arts and music and vocational training centre, gardens for growing organic food, and a playground will be on the premises.
Basis plans to source local staffing and expertise.
Basis hopes to become self-sustaining within five years and plans to achieve this are in development.
Christina de Jong was one of the first to rally behind Thomas’ vision for Basis and has played an important role in partnership and project development since its inception.
Christina brings two decades of media production, project management, and communications experience to Basis. She currently serves as Digital Strategy and Engagement Manager for World Renew in Burlington, Ontario.
Grant Cassidy worked for 27 years with World Vision, a global Christian NGO that seeks to provide all children with life in all its fullness and works to chains hearts to support the cause of children. In that time Grant lived and worked for over a decade in South India. His expertise is in fundraising for children's causes and sustainable community based development. He is currently semi-retired and consults on global fundraising.
Grant has worked extensively as a youth leader and on causes to help children. He lives with his wife Rika in Toronto. He is a father of 2 and a grandfather of 5.
His first hand experience in India and his love for children make him a keen member of the Basis board.
Teresa Gomes is a recent Ted Talk speaker, activist and undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in Public Policy and Critical International Development. She is currently the co-founder of an education development project called Education & Equity for Women in Nilphamari Bangladesh, the Toronto Coordinator of a project called Blank Noise, a board member at Bangladeshi-Canadian Community Services and a UofMosaic Fellow at The Mosaic Institute.
Teresa is currently assisting with research projects related to land struggles and feminist geography. She hopes to pursue opportunities that will allow her to understand and mobilize positive change to local and global issues through solidarity, community work, laws and policies.
Sangita Iyer brings a diverse set of skills as a leadership training consultant, a certified Feng Shui expert, and an independent documentary filmmaker. She has several years of experience in instructional design and soft skills training in the corporate world. With a master’s in Psychology, extensive research skills and a philanthropic passion, she is looking for ways to contribute towards creating positive change as a board member.
Dennis Jurjens is a self-employed contractor in Toronto. He has spent the past 15 years helping clients re-imagine and renovate their home spaces. Previously, he taught elementary school for 16 years. He also has been a volunteer on committees with Habitat for Humanity and has served on the board of World Renew. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Margaret.
Sandra Rosekat has been an educator for over 20 years and currently teaches kindergarten in a diverse urban school board. She also provides leadership and professional learning to teachers in the area of early years education.
Sandra is a strong advocate for children’s rights and the need for children's’ voices to be heard in the issues that affect them.
Jo Tamming has been working with marginalized youth in diverse settings for over 20 years. She is currently a Team Leader at a Shelter in Toronto, working with homeless youth/young adults between the ages of 16-24 years of age. Her work intersects with youth who struggle with mental health issues, substance use issues, family conflict, youth who are chronically homeless, those who have been trafficked, those needing Immigration support, etc.