In January 2012, Rod Pereira (CSM founder) and Rick Ferdinands (Director) travelled to Kolkatta to assess the various programs being run by CSM and to look at new opportunities.
Rod and Rick found that not only were the programs running effectively, but that new opportunities were available for CSM to pursue.
The objective of the mission, to provide dignity within adversity, is putting into action our Christian outreach obligations. These spiritual obligations are also being met to a high standard.
CSM Programs update
FOOD PROGRAM: SEALDAH STATION
This program currently supports the daily feeding and washing of 17 physically and mentally challenged individuals in and around Calcutta’s second largest train station. This was the first CSM program, inspired by Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. This program now in its 8th year, continues with an unblemished record of operating 365 days of the year.
The team of local social workers who pick up and deliver the meals each day are themselves from very poor backgrounds. The CSM stipend paid to these workers help each person’s family, preventing them from exploitation and falling into worse poverty.
Rod and Rick visited the canteen that prepares the food. While very basic and simple, it is clean and provides meals which are nutritious and good value for money.
FOOD PROGRAM: TOPSIA
The Topsia Food Program currently supports the daily provision of one meal to 23 widows and elderly people in one of Kolkata’s poorest areas. These people were found malnourished and starving in some cases being thrown out by their poverty stricken families.
A local Topsia family, themselves part of this very poor community, prepare and deliver the meals each day. This family is a prime example of a widow, who with the help of her loyal and loving adult children, are serving their community in an admirable fashion. Their CSM stipend allows them to support their growing family with the widow’s grandchildren now attending school. This is something that she could not afford for her own children. Their home consists of an area that measures about 3m X 4m and often floods when the rains are heavy. The flooding is compounded by the dangers of open sewers and risk of electrocution.
TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM: LORETO COLLEGE
CSM has been providing scholarships to young women from underprivileged backgrounds to complete their tertiary studies in Primary Teaching.
The alternative for these girls is a life on the streets where they will be open to exploitation. Often they live with their widowed mothers.
With an average of five scholarships provided annually, this program gives hope to poor families where a graduate teacher can turn the tide on poverty and exploitation.
With the program now running for several years, we invited some of the graduates who are working as teachers to speak about their experiences to the current scholarship holders. This exercise was extremely beneficial and gave us an insight to the success of the program.
Two graduates are now self-funding their further education by completing a Bachelor of Education via correspondence whilst working.
Another graduate who passed with distinctions attained a position at a Loreto school. She is now able to bring herself and her elderly parents from the single basement room with no sunlight into a home with windows for the first time.
CSM has been supporting the building of a school and the provision of educational aids to an area, Joihoripor, about 2 hours North of Calcutta.
This area supports many small villages where indigenous peoples are marginalised from the government education system because of cultural and language barriers.
The Loreto Sisters support the teachers in this Pre-government school environment.
NEW PROJECT FOR 2012: ST PETER’S SCHOOL FOR BOYS
CSM is delighted to announce the commencement of a new project – the provision of food to boys who live on the street and attend St Peter’s school in one of the poorest districts of Kolkatta. Originating in 1932 with Mother Teresa, the school was built in 1958 and now educates approximately 500 boys.
These boys are from the poorest families in Kolkatta. Some of them are lucky, and live in officially recognised slums. Others aren’t so lucky – they live on the side of the road, often having only a cloth to shelter them at night.
St Peter’s School provides the boys with a uniform and basic school supplies. In addition, the boys receive an education in a wide range of areas, as well as being given self respect, self confidence and the hope of a brighter future.
The school does everything they can to provide for the boys. However, most still come to classes hungry as there is little money for a meal. CSM has committed to feeding ten of the boys a nutritious meal each morning so that they are able to concentrate on their studies and thrive in the education environment.