I have now returned to Kolkata revived and keener than ever after a much needed rest at home in Perth after 12 months in India.
My time at home gave me the opportunity to witness the fantastic support that the local community is providing. We were warmly received at many schools and churches where we were invited to give presentations on our work with the needy in Kolkata, and the fundraising functions demonstrated the spirit of generosity and compassion that is alive and well in the local community.
But it is not only the local community that is demonstrating such support. We have received assistance from all over the world – from Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, America – through both financial assistance as well as hands-on volunteer work.
I am truly grateful for the support that we are continuing to receive in our efforts to make a difference in Kolkata.
And we are making a difference. Since returning to India, I have extended our food program in both numbers and in location. Last year we were feeding 10 people per day in one location – now we are feeding 20 people in 2 locations! The food program is making a huge difference to their lives. The 10 people who originally started on our program are looking healthier by the day – the difference that I saw on returning from my Perth holiday was remarkable! Now there are 20 more people who will benefit.
It is not only the lives of the destitute that we are affecting with our increase of the Food Program but the lives of a few locals, who by are no means destitute but still very poor by our standards. By increasing the food program an extra 10 parcels of food must be prepared. The difference this could mean for the local family who carefully prepares the CSM food parcels could be something so many of us would take for granted like the ability to now afford a secondary education for their child.
CSM’s small team of locals who help organise and distribute the food parcels are amazing. Their dedication to helping their own people by distributing the parcels every day of the year is inspiring.
By involving the locals in our projects we can provide a way of becoming self sufficient and restoring family pride and independence is a goal that we constantly look to achieve
Our connection with Loreto Day School has given us the opportunity to provide the students of an associated village school with a fresh water supply. This is in the planning stage at the moment, but already the funds have been made available through donations from across Australia. Again, we are grateful to those who have captured the vision – what a privilege to make such a difference to the lives of children who won’t have to drink dirty water! We look forward to receiving so many donations that we need to find another community who need clean water.
CSM is surging ahead with a new project confirmed to commence at the end of this year.
CSM has been given the opportunity of supporting a school in a small village outside Kolkata. The children in this area attend a local government school that caters primarily for the Bengali middle class.
As the majority of these children are of a different cultural and socio-economic background, they find themselves unable to relate to what the government school can offer in terms of an education.
If these children are to progress through the school system they require extra tuition in order to ‘bridge’ the gap so they can then learn from the general curriculum offered by the government school. As most students in this region are unable to pay for the private tuition this new school will provide tuition in a classroom situation to those who are unable to afford private tuition. Please refer to the “Projects” page for more information.