Kolkata ‘the city of joy’ is a vibrant restless and energetic city with a population of 4.5 million people. On first arrival westerners are shell-shocked by the noise , colour , the crowds and poverty and against all odds , the infectious happiness of the people who have nothing.
“The real heart of the city lies in its people” says Emma Norton one of the six Coláiste Treasa students who travelled to Kolkata on the 12th of April with their teacher Sheila Vaughan. Through our work with ‘The Hope Foundation’ we witnessed poverty at first hand. “Prior to fundraising , we had the mindset that we were raising money for the organisation but after seeing the work that ‘Hope’ have been doing , we now feel that we were fundraising for the people whose lives have been completely changed by our efforts” says Niamh Browne.
Between the seven girls , Sheila Vaughan , Julie O Keeffe, Emma Norton , Niamh Browne , Anna Buckley , Zara Murphy and Elaine Daly almost €20,000 was raised. In Kolkata it only costs €250 to put a child through school for a whole year. One of the Protection Homes which are homes that bring children off the streets and harsh living conditions that the girls visited costs a mere €9000 to run for a year. This really puts all the hard work and effort the girls made for fundraising into perspective.
‘The Hope Foundation’ works with street and slum children and aims to help them create a better future for themselves and their families. ‘Hope’ funds and operates over sixty projects through child protection , healthcare , and nutrition. “The work that Hope does has really opened my eyes and these are the memories that I will cherish forever” says Julie O Keeffe.
The girls got to visit multiple protection homes , crèches , schools , hospitals , and the night ambulance runs. “The children and adults we got to meet were so inspiring and each of us were greatly affected. We now value everything we have in life as it has put things into perspective for all of us and we are forever grateful to have received this life changing opportunity on traveling to India.” Says Sheila Vaughan.
During their trip the group also got to explore Indian culture through a city tour which included a visit to Mother Theresa’s home and tomb and a tour of the Ganges River. “I was really honored to to have experienced and witnessed the Indian culture and their ways of living” says Anna Buckley.
It is almost impossible to be sad in a place that has so much happiness and purity. The children are so grateful for anything they receive even if it’s only a single balloon. “The smallest of things create the biggest smiles” says Zara Murphy.
On behalf of all of us , we would like to thank everyone so much who donated to this amazing and worthwhile cause, Because of you children in Kolkata are being rescued from harsh living conditions and are given a second shot at life. We are so grateful to have been a part of something so life changing , heartwarming and pure.
Thank you , Sheila Vaughan , Julie O Keeffe , Elaine Daly , Niamh Browne , Anna Buckley , Zara Murphy and Emma Norton.