Purnota Dutta Bahl is the founder and CEO of an NGO “Cuddles Foundation” which is a well-known NGO in India concentrating on the unrecognised area of nutrition for cancer-affected children.
Purnota was born in 1980 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. She joined Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai from where she completed her Bachelor of Commerce, and later, she completed her MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
Family, Caste & Husband
Purnota’s father, Sandip K. Dutta has worked as an employee at Bank of India. Her mother, Sulekha Dutta is a former UPSEC employee. Purnota’s younger sister, Nivedita Dutta Goel is married and lives in Singapore.
Purnota got married to her boyfriend Gunjan Bahla in 2006. He works as a Chief Investment Officer at LOGOS. The couple is blessed with three daughters, the elder one is Eva, while the younger ones Ahaana and Ishana are twins.
She started her career in 2006 as a brand manager at ‘Hindustan Times,’ and later, she joined Shaadi.com (People Interactive) in Mumbai as marketing team head. The turning point in her life came when she visited ‘Tata Memorial Hospital’ in Mumbai. In an interview, she shared this incident,
My journey started with a visit to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai when I came across families that go to cities like Mumbai and New Delhi to seek treatment. There I happened to see a little girl who reminded me so much of my daughter who was exactly the same age. That was the turning point in my life where I decided I had to do something.”
She started helping the children suffering from cancer by donating a part of her salary, but soon, she realised that she needed to do something bigger for them. For this purpose, she quit her job and started an NGO ‘Cuddles Foundation’ in 2012 with the help of a few volunteers. This foundation works with the aid of government and charity based hospitals such as Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, SGPGI in Lucknow, AIIMS in New Delhi, and NRS Medical College in Kolkata. The NGO provides nutritional supplementation, mid-day meals in OPD and providing ration baskets to needy families.
Purnota’s NGO has payrolled 24 trained nutritionist who work in the pediatric oncology team of different hospitals. Interestingly, all the members of the NGO’s team consisted of female members. Cuddles Foundation has more than 21 hospitals and 35000 children throughout India. In 2018, a mobile app was launched by the Cuddles to counsel parents and reach out to the fundraisers. According to the sources, in a report of TATA Memorial Hospital, it was stated that nutritious food had helped in bringing down the percentage of children suffering from cancer. Purnota’s team is working with an aim to reach out to 80 per cent of the children fighting with cancer in India and provide them with full nutrition support by 2020.
Awards & Honours
- 2016: National Award for Child Welfare
- 2018: Advantage Woman Award by ICICI Bank
Nangia and co, 1101, 11th floor, Tower-B, Peninsula Business Park, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400013
- She has got a tattoo inked on her left arm.
- Purnota shared one of her experiences with Cuddles Foundation, she said,
There was a boy Nandu who used to work part-time at a factory in the day and come for treatment during the evenings. Despite his illness and chemotherapy, Nandu had no choice but to work. The nutritionists from Cuddles came to his rescue. With their gentle encouragement and nutritional support, he finally quit his job. Today, having recovered he has started going to school with a noble dream of becoming a scientist to find the cure to a disease like cancer.”
- Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor is one of the fundraisers. She is also the brand ambassador of Cuddles Foundation.
- Purnota and Emraan Hashmi appeared on the Karamveer episode of KBC 11 on 22 November 2019. Purnota shared her experience with her NGO whereas, Emraan shared real-life experiences of his son, Ayaan Hashmi, who was once suffering from cancer.