The Bengali Kids of Princeton Area (BKPA) is a volunteer-run organization for kids between the ages of
5 and 17. Our programs are generated by and focused on kids.
As American Bengali Kids, we engage in lifelong pursuit of learning, give back to our local and global communities, and learn about our Bengali heritage while continuing the legacy of our rich culture. Our goals are to learn about our rich Bengali Heritage and Culture in a FUN way and become generous, thoughtful global citizens.
Did you know that the US Government considers the Bengali language to be a critical language for the future of our country? Bengali is the 7th most spoken language in the world. For this reason and more, the US State Department believes in establishing relationships with the Bengali language and people for future development and prosperity. We hope our organization can help bridge the gap between American and Bengali cultures. The Bengali Kids of Princeton Area (BKPA) members have distinct cultural identities as American Bengalis. In this rapidly globalizing world, we believe it is important to forge connections across cultures and countries. BKPA’s focus is to build these bridges in all parts of life, starting with the paths available from the popularity of our language. Through events, trips, and other programs we share Bengali culture with our local communities and maintain relationships with our friends abroad.
We hold Bengali Heritage Class every Saturday, where members learn about Bengali heritage, culture, and language throughout the year. The Bengali Heritage Class recently developed a four-level curriculum for those who wish to learn how to speak, write, and read the Bengali language. BKPA has finalized this curriculum by publishing four workbooks in the Learn Bangla Now! series, one for each level of the curriculum, respectively. Bengali Heritage Class teaches us teamwork, leadership skills, public speaking, professionalism, and promotes hard work, honesty, discipline, fairness, and respect. Our teachers also help us to prepare for college, hold resume workshops, teach writing skills, and find opportunities for community work and summer internships. BKPA gives its members the opportunity to have a never-ending learning experience. Come join our Bengali Heritage Class and find out how much FUN it is!
In addition to learning about language, culture, and heritage, our members and students also meet to discuss charitable goals, future events, and more. These ideas coalesce at quarterly meetings of students and staff at which we plan and review programs.
Kids are the base, foundation, and strength of this organization. BKPA was founded almost fifteen years ago by a small group of Bengali kids and has grown steadily ever since. Our organization focuses on four pillars of instruction: Educational, Cultural, Literary and Charitable.
BKPA emphasizes social and life skills alongside scholarship.
Our past highlights include:
Cultural: Performing at North American Bengali Conference (NABC) 2010 in Atlantic City, Milan Mela 2012 and 2014, UTSOV's Durga Pujas, Princeton Public Library 2015, and the Asian American Heritage Festival 2016.
Charitable: BKPA members collected 72 pairs of kids shoes in 2013 and 86 pairs in 2017. These were distributed in a village in West Bengal by BKPA volunteers travelling with a mobile health clinic. We fund 12 academic scholarships every year via Poets Foundation. ₹2000 for middle school, ₹3000 for high school, and ₹4000 for college. Since 2017 we have gathered and delivered computers with up-to-date programs and software free of cost to young adults in need. This helps them pursue self-directed careers from their homes. In 2018 we also collected 14 computers that will be sent to classrooms in need.
Saraswati Puja - February 10th, 2019
Bengali New Year Lunch - April 14th, 2019
March of Dimes - April 28th, 2019
Spring Outing - May, 2019
Bengali New Year Celebration - June 8th, 2019
Summer Picnic Outing - August 25th, 2019
Autism Speaks Walk - October 13th, 2019
Kali Puja - October/November, 2019
Holiday Party - December, 2019
Technology, Clothing, and Shoe Drives - Ongoing and TBA
Dance, Music, and Poetry Performances - 2019 Dates TBA
Service Trips - 2019 Dates TBA
Our cultural events, such as Saraswati Puja and Noboborsho, feature performances by member students and guest artists, as well as food and short religious ceremonies for religious holidays.
Charitable events such as the Autism Speaks Walk and March of Dimes are attended by member families, and material drives are ongoing throughout each year.
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The Bengali Heritage Class (BHC) exposes students to our rich Bengali language, culture, and heritage,
and helps them to learn the material in a FUN way. Adults and kids are welcome to join. Please see
for detailed information. This class opens doors and provides a never ending learning experience for those who are truly
interested. Bengali Heritage Class meets every Saturday from 3:00 to 5:00 PM in Plainsboro, NJ. Join
us for Spring Bengali Classes! (April 6-June 15)
Join us for Spring Bengali Classes! (April 6 - June 15)
Chairwoman and Language Instructor Meena Dam teaches an additional class with more intense focus on language every other week in Bucks County, PA. We also have quarterly steering and financial meetings of all student leaders along with adult members and teachers.
BKPA Gives is the charitable branch of BKPA. It grew out of discussions among students and teachers at our weekly language and heritage classes. In these classes we learn about communities around the globe where Bengali is spoken, and students raised the idea of assisting those in need in these communities to their mentors and teachers. Events such as free performances in assisted living facilities and other venues, fundraising walks, and more operate in the USA. Our program “International Technology for Self Sufficiency” currently operates in India and Bangladesh, and “International Technology for Career Education” will be operational in a location to be announced soon, bringing computers to a school for adult career education.
We also fund a growing number of scholarships in India through Poets Foundation, and donate clothes and shoes to kids and adults in need. If you would like to be involved in our technology and clothing drives, please contact email@example.com.
On BKPA member summer volunteer trips to orphanages in Kolkata, we met young adults who were too old to receive aid from area orphanages but still struggling to make a living on their own. Some of these individuals have disabilities that make it difficult for them to travel to daily jobs. So, the BKPA Gives International Technology for Self Sufficiency and International Technology for Career Education programs were born. We provide individuals in need with the materials and funds needed to use technology to broaden their education and create modern careers. These tools can also help connect recipients with both their local and global communities. Initial and annual check-ins both online and in person offer continued community and support between BKPA members and BKPA Gives program recipients. Since 2014 we have brought computers to seven people who can then support themselves and their families. On the local level, we perform in assisted living facilities, providing free entertainment and food to residents, and open all of our annual cultural event to the public so that they may learn with us about our culture, language, and heritage. Our language classes are open to all free of charge as well. Teachers and mentors volunteer their time, the only fee being to cover printing costs of the language textbook and workbook that we produce. We hope that this openness encourages dialogue between people from different cultures.
An outline of what we do in each BKPA Gives program is below. We encourage members to take initiative and coordinate with individuals they meet in their travels and daily life to design programs. All programs are brainstormed by the kids of BKPA, with guidance, oversight, and operational support from our adult members, teachers, and families. All members participate in our charitable events and other programs as volunteers. We believe part of our duty as global citizens is to give back to our communities and assist those in difficult circumstances.
We can help you have experiences of a lifetime in two different areas:
Charitable Work – Volunteer at unique places and participate in meaningful community service. For example, past BKPA members have travelled to volunteer at Mother Theresa’s Orphanage in Kolkata. BKPA encourages members volunteering there to meet fellow young adults both at the orphanage and outside of it, building relationships and giving plans based on their needs, which often go beyond the scope of the orphanage once kids turn 18. BKPA Gives’ Technology for Self Sufficiency is one such program. See the BKPA Gives page for more information.