I am Kuku Das and I live in Santa Clara, California with my husband Bibek Das and our two children. I hold a Masters degree in literature (English) from Utkal University. Being a teacher by profession, I have taught at a prestigious private school in Northern California for more than a decade. Currently I am working as the director of International Gurukul.
I came to United States in January 1992 and have been involved with the Odia community thereafter. I’ve been very passionate about my mother tongue, the Odia language. Starting from my elementary school till now, I participated in odia debate, song, drama, folk dance and other cultural activities and took many leadership positions. I co-founded a program called “Chala Ame Odia Sikhiba” or “Let's Learn Odia” in the year 2000 which runs very successfully in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The main purpose of this program is that “It’s our responsibility to give our children the foundation of the Odia language now, so that when they will grow up, they would never regret that they’re unable to speak, read or write his/her own language”. Keeping in mind to bring the Odia culture and language to the mainstream, this program eventually expanded to an organization called International Gurukul, a center of Excellence in learning and Human Development. I have also developed the Odia language curriculum in three steps for the Odia Language class at iGurukul which helps in the learning of Odia in an interesting way for both children and adults. I’ve organized several Odia summer camps in the Bay Area, where participants got the opportunity to indulge in Odia food, language, cultural trivia and cultural program. It’s a pleasure to see the little one grew up to be the teenager and taking responsibility in leading local puja and other celebrations. It’s an immense pleasure to hear people say, “iGurukul is a wonderful platform for all of us”, “by getting the kids learn such songs, Not only they learn Odia language: this also helps them shape their identity, personality, and character” and, “It is heartening to know that there are some brave souls who will fight all odds to pass on our language and culture to our younger generations”.
Nothing will be a better reward and motivation for me to continue my journey of keeping our language and culture alive in this land of opportunity. I have always had the passion of writing in Odia and my Odia poems and articles have been published in several magazines. I have written, directed and acted in numerous plays for kids and adults. At iGurukul I’ve coordinated a drama and theatre club which produces several Odia plays, well appreciated by the audiences. Event management, costume designing, and stage decoration are also my hobby. I’m a known face for stage decoration and costume designing at the events in the community and also with other dance gurus. I’m an active and sincere volunteer of Bay Area Odia community and an event manager for several events which were conducted flawlessly. I was the cultural coordinator for OSA Convention in the years of 1998 and 2005 in California. I was the convener of the 41st OSA convention that took place in the bay area in the year 2010. Our great aim was to motivate and inspired many volunteers from the second generation to participate which made OSA convention 2010 one of the most successful conventions in history of OSA. I have received several awards including the OSA Service Leadership Award. I’m currently volunteering to coordinate OSA educational movement 'Let's learn Odia' at the national level.
I believe in President Kennedy's famous quote - “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country”. With my passion, dedication and keeping 'synergy and empowerment' as my mantra, I take pride in spreading the Odia language and culture in this Diaspora. I’ve shown continuous effort and determination of building the bridge between both the generations. I have the vision of passing our beautiful Odia culture and heritage to our next generation and inspire them to take pride in their roots and identity. I’ve sincere regards for the founders and the leaders of the OSA organization and my vision is to take OSA to the next level.My salute to those veterans and elites who founded this beautiful organization 41 years ago with a great vision of preserving our language, culture, and heritage in a foreign land. Now it’s our duty to move forward together to empower and enlighten this organization with unlimited positive thoughts and energy. Let’s take the responsibility of keeping our vibrant Odia culture alive for our future generation and give them the sense of belongingness.
My vision of My OSA:
Making OSA a trustworthy place where each member will be motivated to move forward together to empower and enlighten OSA organization with unlimited positive thoughts and energy.
Youth Oriented Programs: Creating youth oriented programs and motivating our second generations to actively participate in decision making and inspire them to take pride in their own roots and identity.
Odia Literacy: To expand the “Let’s Learn Odia” program on the national level, providing basic education in Odia literacy and culture through summer camps, stage plays and dance dramas in Odia language.
Strong and Transparent organization: To create such an organization, OSAnet will be a resourceful medium of communication, where members will be encouraged to voice constructive opinions.
Accomplishing tasks: Continuous and determined effort for building the bridge between both the generations and channelize my services for passing our beautiful Odia culture and heritage to our next generation.
With Best Regards,
Life Member, OSA