Human bonds and connections have been reduced to interactions through the virtual world. We no longer feel the warmth and see the smiles on people’s faces, as we’re so absorbed into our electronic gadgets.
Suddenly, there’s a spurt of life in the neighbourhood that compels you to step out of your virtual world and mingle with people for real. It helps you to get to know your neighbourhood and community.
Introducing to you, Street Konnect, a 5-year-old social enterprise started primarily by a group of enthusiastic residents of Oberoi Park View in Thakur Village. They’re soon going live with their annual street fest on Sunday 16th December at Thakur Village.
When the Street Konnect team first thought of creating this event, they expected at least 300-500 people to show up. Everything including posters was handmade or contributed by team members and other residents.
Contributions in the form of cash and items they needed came entirely from the community. The footfall in their first year in 2014 was over 3500. It has since then been growing exponentially. Last year the footfall was over 12,000. It seems as if the residents can’t seem to have enough of it and now the Street Konnect team have frequent requests to make it a quarterly event.
The Lifestyle Portal in conversation with the team about their visions of bringing their neighbourhood alive with happiness, culture, art, music and food.
How did it all begin?
It all began sometime in 2014 when a group of women were working within their residential building to create a sense of involvement in their neighbourhood. This was when they felt that such an initiative should also extend to the entire neighbourhood of Thakur Village.
Street Konnect was intended to bring people out of their homes and onto the streets to meet each other and form connections and bonds on a Sunday morning. We wanted it to happen over fun and engaging activities and so, we decided to host a variety of activities to interest a diverse population in Thakur Village,” explains Reema Gulati, the Spokesperson of Street Konnect.
Visions for Street Konnect
Street Konnects vision is to build a strong, happy and a healthy community. As Nita Sundararaju, Spokesperson of Street Konnect explains, “In an urban environment, where most people are too busy to even meet their own neighbours, the human connection is what we want to encourage and build on. Along with that, we would also like to introduce new ideas that will broaden the horizons for the members of the community, including us.”
The team wanted this to be a festival of the community, for the community, and by the community. Hence investments for the Street Konnect team are mostly in terms of ideas, time, resources and doing all the groundwork to put up a good show at the end!
Nita shares, “To be honest, getting permissions has been simpler than expected. The officials have been very co-operative, whether it is the Corporator, Mrs. Madhuri Yogesh Bhoir, the Samta Nagar police department, the fire brigade or the RTO. Not only that but, the residential society officials also has been happy to lend their premises for the use of Street Konnect meetings. However, one of the big challenges that we face is with the removal of parked cars from the venue and of course getting the right amount of funding through sponsorships’.”
The Street Konnect Team & the Work
The Street Konnect core team is responsible for owning and managing the progress of each of the key Street Konnect work stream.
The SK Association as it is known forms a fresh Core team for each of its annual event taking into consideration the following factors:
- Diversity of members in terms of backgrounds, perspectives and talents
- Alignment to Street Konnect s vision values and purpose
- The team size required to accomplish the task
- A member who is recognized as a trusted contributor
- Availability in terms of time and commitment from commencement to closure
How can we join Street Konnect ?
Anyone who feels that they would like to contribute to creating a community is welcome to join the Street Konnect team. “However, the only prerequisites are dedication, commitment, and willingness to have fun!” laughs Reema.
What makes StreetKonenct unique?
“Street Konnect ’s USP is its vision. We’re not just a fest on the street but are here to create a community bonding. In fact, we believe a strong, healthy, and a happy set of people constitutes a happy neighbourhood. We also provide a platform to budding artists, entrepreneurs and homemakers to showcase their talents. None of what we have done was intended to pull in a crowd; that has been purely incidental,” smiles Nita.
For the first three years, Street Konnect was completely community funded. Some of their patrons continue to contribute even now. However with the scale of the event growing every year, especially from the fourth edition onwards the Street Konnect team has started to accept sponsorships from companies that believe in their vision.
Themes for this year
All the activities at the fest are primarily divided into five broad categories to cater to all age groups and varied interests:
- Art zone: It showcases artwork and has workshops and activity related to different mediums of art, i.e. Fine Arts and Performing Arts.
- Innovation zone: It’s all about introducing new ideas, processes, happening all around us, into the community.
- Fitness zone: The name says it all; activities are planned to include all age groups.
- Pets zone: The bond between a pet and its parent is priceless. Strengthening that bond is our intention.
- Main stage: Performances that engage and entertain. Providing a platform/opportunity to new, upcoming talent is part of our vision, and we’re always looking for it.
a) Free zone– Community/Swap
Various groups that are contributing to making Thakur village a better place and Street Konnect intends is to highlight this factor and bring them together to share ideas and resources.
b) Swap: This is a unique concept where one can exchange any items that they don’t need for a likeable item.
Response so far
The response the team has received so far has exceeded their expectations. “We had no idea how Street Konnect would even come this far. We just kept working hard because it is so fulfilling, and the encouragement we received from the community kept egging us on. We’re aware of and appreciate the support of so many people, without which we know we couldn’t have done it. Even today, we see a continuous flow of goodwill and love coming our way,” adds Reema.
So far Street Konnect has conducted Organic Farmers Market, Compost Mela, EcoKonnect and will continue to introduce niche events to the community.
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