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A Tribute to a Legend


Mrs. Kira Banasinska

INTRODUCTION
Our Founder, Mdme Kira Banasinska, a legend in her lifetime, played an important role in the implementation of Montessori Education in our country, since she began the manufacturing of Montessori Materials and other Educational Equipment. She did so in a very careful way in close co-operation with Dr. Maria Montessori and Mr.Mario Montessori. Later with Mr. A. M. Joosten, Dr. Maria Montessori's Personal Representative of the AMI in India.

Kira - a woman of great calibre had witnessed both the World Wars! The suffering that was wrought in its wake, especially to the children and their torn families, had further deepened her commitment to champion their cause.

It was with this humane idea that Kaybee School Equipment Manufacturing Company was born!
The stamp of individuality is evident on each crafted product.

We take pride in presenting you the opportunity to know the persona of Mrs. Kira Banasinska:

Kira was born in The Urals to an affluent Polish family, on 1st of October in the year 1899. Kira's mother fled with her to Siberia when she was just 19. She then took up a job as an interpreter with the American Red Cross. When the Soviets arrived in Siberia in pursuit of the Americans, Kira fled to Harbin, in Manchuria where there was a large congregation of Polish refugees. She had traversed different parts of the world, having had to flee from the place of her origin to Siberia, China, Japan then again to Poland and eventually to India, where she finally settled down!

She met and married Dr.Eugene Banasinski - a student revolutionary and together they returned to Poland. Thereafter, he joined the Diplomatic Service in Japan. During their stay in Japan, she was professionally trained in Japanese art and music. When her husband was on various diplomatic assignments, she held several exhibitions there also, apart from Tokyo.

In the year 1933, they came to Bombay - India, since her husband was posted as the First Polish Consul General for India. Kira had then volunteered to look after thousands of refugees mostly children, (who fled Poland in the wake of uprising ) with the support of the Polish Red Cross and in collaboration with the Indian Government. In 1945, after the end of World War II, they were now stateless; being firm believers in freedom and democracy where they had already spent about eleven years, the diplomats sought and obtained Indian Citizenship in the year 1961.

Mdme Kira Banasinska, now 45 years old, had to make a new beginning all over again thus decided to make toys for a living. Being an acclaimed master of Japanese art, a perfectionist by nature - Kira's creative ingenuity and insight led her to producing self-educative aids for the normal, the blind and the handicapped children. Kira switched over from making toys to educational equipments in the year 1953 and thus entered the "World of Montessori!"

She stuck steadfastly to producing precision Montessori material with the active support from Mr. Joosten, the personal representative of Dr. Maria Montessori in India and the Association Montessori Internationalè with its Head Quarters in Holland.

Shortly after her husband's demise in the year 1964, Kira left Bombay due to factors beyond her control and came to Hyderabad in the year 1967, where her factory still exists, with a clientele which is very loyal and very demanding.

In 1973, Kira had turned 73 years. In the wake of increased financial burden and turbulent labour, she looked for support and consequently brought in an able partner Mr.R.Sequeira - a self-effacing, endearing and wistful personality, to assist her in her endeavour to produce the same quality of materials. The tradition and the precedence set by them could be seen even now from the innumerable appreciative communications we receive from our esteemed clientele and others.

Mdme Kira - a centenarian, was still very actively associated in the research and development of the materials. She lived to be a 102!

She was instrumental in setting up The Montessori Training and Research Trust at Hyderabad. After a prolonged period of struggle with various government and non-governmental organizations to get land and other formalities failed, this project of hers finally took shape due to the active support lent by her associates.

Kira was also a very good cosmetologist. She inherited from her mother the art of making creams and lotions and used to market them directly to the beauty clinics all over the country.

Kira was honoured and decorated by the Polish Government with Poland's highest civilian award, "The Commander's Cross of The Order of The Rebirth of Poland", (Polonia Restituta), for her remarkable services rendered during the war torn days. With the co-operation of the Polish Consulate in Mumbai, she was laid to rest beside her late husband Dr.Eugene Banasinski, in Mumbai.

We at Kaybee's salute Mrs. Kira Banasinska for her courage, grit and determination with which she dedicated her best days for the humanitarian causes - especially Children!

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