Nadim is one of CSM’s local heros who is dedicated to caring for the underprivileged in his own community.
Nadim lives with his mother in a tiny three meter square room in a very poor suburb of Kolkata. Despite being the youngest of his siblings, Nadim supports not only his mother but also his older siblings with his CSM salary.
I first met Nadim in 2005 when we ran one of our Mobile Medical Clinics in that area. I first remember him peering shyly through the window of the Clinic. He seemed to be wondering who these foreigners were and what they were doing.
Whenever something was required or we needed something done Nadim was always ready to assist. He spoke very little English at that time but he very quickly became able to communicate with us in broken English. Through his eagerness and willingness to help in his own community, Nadim became our translator and source of information about the community in which he lived.
Nadim would identify the sick that needed help, and those who were abandoned and malnourished. It was this experience that led us to start a food programme in Topsia.
In Nadim we had found a person who wanted to make a difference in his own community. He became part of the our local team working in Kolkata. Nadim’s Mother and two sisters are also employed by CSM for the cooking and distribution of food.
Over the last five years the Topsia Food Programme has fed and clothed twenty five people every day. Many of them are old and frail people who have been abandoned by their families, and some are widows with children.
Because of the dedication of people such as Nadim and the other members of the team, there has not been a day that the people have not received their food parcels. There have been riots, floods, and strikes but nothing has stopped the food deliveries.
I remember once going to Topsia to find the whole area was flooded. Nadim had just returned from distributing food in the slum areas. In some parts of Topsia the water was waist deep. Entering their house I was greeted with smiles even though the back wall of their house had fallen in because of the floods. Nadim was getting ready to repair it after making sure that the needs of those we help had been met first. Similarly, Nadim’s Mother and sisters had made sure that the food was ready to go before they attended to their own needs and worries.
It is because of the dedication of people such as these that our food programmes have been so successful. Nadim is now the Co-ordinator of the Topsia Food Programme and also the Sealdah Station Food Programme. At Sealdah we feed another 17 people who are destitute and dying.
Nadim and his colleagues are truly grateful for the support they get from people as far away as Australia, and we are the richer for having them as the CSM Local Team of Kolkata.
TEACHER TRAINING COURSE STUDENTS: CLASS OF 2009
CSM sponsors six girls so they can attend a teacher training course at Loreto College. This is one of the most sought after colleges in India and once they graduate most girls are assured of a teaching position.
All the girls that CSM sponsor come from poor or deprived backgrounds. They are very grateful to be given this chance of a sponsorship and extend their gratitude to the people of Australia for their generosity.
CSM contributes to the funding of a small village school at Joihoripur. This is about three hours from Kolkata by train.
The school continues to be successful, with consistent school activity and high student attendance. The school received nearly 30 students each day. The two teaching staff, Monika and Raju, are supported by a fellow teacher, Chompa, who visits regularly. A dozen older, high school aged children attend Monika’s tuition class in the evenings.
The school room is now weather proof, if not very beautiful. It is hoped that a decision will soon be reached about improving the existing room at very modest cost, or to build a new school room nearby. A new school room would cost between three and four thousand Australian dollars.
The small strip of earth in front of the school room has a border of flowers tended by the children. Shortly the potato crop in all the adjacent fields will be harvested and the land will be quickly ploughed and replanted with rice seedlings which will become a waist high crop within three months.