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Hope Connect Mar 2009

March 01, 2009 By: dev Category: Newsletters No Comments →

Hope Connect  


MARCH  2009   update of the Hope Home  Calcutta


 Dev writes


Dear Beloved Friends:





It is a great twist of irony that a film about the poor little slumchildren in India has resulted in euphoric celebrations across slums in Indian cities after the film won eight Oscars. The  statuettes were conferred by the Academy that incidentally regards a group of Scientologists as icons! I remember there was a similar  euphoria when Born Into Brothels won an Oscar as the best documentary four years back! Nothing has changed for the lives of the children of Sonagachi – the largest red-light area of Calcutta upon which the film was based.


As an Indian professor at New York University ’s Stern Business School rightly pointed out, the term ‘slumdog’ doesn’t really exist in the real phraseology in India . What these children are often referred to by many of those who are now queuing up in Calcutta ’s multiplexes to watch the film is ‘alley-dog’ (galli-ka-kutta). Needless to say, most of these ‘alley-dogs’ even of the highest caliber would not be allowed to come within five miles of a TV Reality Show!


I love good films. I appreciate good directors. I am awestruck with all the technical components that make a great movie. But to ‘Oscarcize’  Slumdogs? Something is amiss. Are we suggesting that slum children in India are stoical, resilient, courageous, self-reliant, resolute, and filled with virtues? Are we suggesting that our slum people are the greatest slum people in the whole-wide world? If that is so, we at the Hope Home Calcutta are committed to become  the ‘World Champions in Care-Giving!’


Let me share the truth with you. The slums in Indian cities – and of Calcutta’s – are bad, brutal, violent,  atrocious  and outright ‘hellish’ where alley-dogs – children are regularly abused, exploited, raped and sodomized, maimed, tortured, sold into prostitution and churned out to be criminals by the hordes. ‘Rags to Riches’ stories are an exception rather than an everyday occurrence.


How do I know all this? Because the Hope Home Calcutta has children under its care who were once described as such ‘alley-dogs’! We have personally been to some of the slums from where our  children have come from. I can honestly share that I would not be able to endure even for half-a- day what most of them are compelled to live throughout  their entire lives.


I thank God for you dear friends. We have been able to pick up ‘real’ alley-dogs and empowered them to secure distinctions in violin and drums from the Royal Schools of Music! Thanks to you all – they, who were once the scum of the society, looked upon with contempt and scorn now have the privilege to sit in air-conditioned rooms in our new facility and learn Q-Basic, C++ and programming! Children who were in rags five years back look so smart and decent now that very few would be inclined to believe that they came out such horrendous environment.


On a positive note, I am glad that Slumdog Millionaire  won 8 Oscars. A. R. Rahman made history securing 2 Oscars in music. I join with millions of Indians in hailing him as one of the greatest musicians the world has ever produced. I am indeed proud of

Resul Pookutty  (Oscar for Sound Mixing) who has worked in Indian studios and proved to the world that we can be the best in technology even in constrained facilities.


I am glad that Slumdod Millionaires has turned the attention of the world to the reality of India .  And it has put into proper perspective the effort, sweat, tears and sacrifice of people like you who are propelling the movement that is the Hope Home Calcutta forward.


I am glad we are not in the business of ‘producing’ millionaires of ‘alley-children’! What we are doing instead is transforming lives – one-at-a-time – with God’s help, education, honest and sincere care and pails of hope! And we have only just begun…!


My only regret is that there is still much to be done. Over 100,000 ‘alley-children’ who should be rescued and empowered to live a life of dignity, hope, love and faith! And we cannot accomplish this mission alone. That is why we need you. Thank you for being part of history at the Hope Home Calcutta.


Incidentally, many have overlooked that the ‘Indian Connection’ at this year’s Oscars is NOT  all about Slumdog Millionaire. Another film won the Oscar (taking Indian movies tally to an awesome  9). Smile Train, a not-for-profit organization enabled Megan Mylan, an American director and producer, to tell the tale of a girl in rural India born with a cleft lip.  Mylan’s Smile Pinki, won the Oscar for the best documentary short subject which tells how Pinki Kumari has been able to battle not only her physical defect, a common enough condition in India, but also social exclusion. I encourage you to see this film.


We send out of updates to about 100 people every month. I encourage you to forward this update to make it read  10 times over! More and more people should be confronted with the truth and the reality of the slums in Indian cities. Please forward this to as many friends as you may wish to.





We are delighted that former alley children now at the Hope Home Calcutta continue to make history and earn recognition.  Take Kaleb for example. On February 15, he played

 the violin (along with Abigail) in the city-wide High Scorer’s Concert organized by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, U.K.! Six years ago, he was in the slums – the family deserted by the man who fathered them and the mother dying in a sanitarium for patients with tuberculosis! Look at this – Kaleb and Abigail are with the Chief Guest – an Indian Army General!! That’s the kind of transformational endeavor we are involved in!



Baylor Back Pack by Olympia (OLYP BP400)



The ‘Back Packs 2009’ campaign which aims to help support orphan and underprivileged children with school supplies, fees, uniforms, shoes, stationary and books to enable them to do study and do better in our school program. Presently we have 58 students and would like to provide school supplies to a minimum of 25 children in the beginning of 2009 .


Individual students in more developed countries could, on their own with help from their families or, join together as a class pooling in their resources to take part in the ‘Back Packs 2009’ campaign. A few years back a school in Phoenix organized a play ‘The Cotton Patch Gospel’ to raise funds for school furniture of the Hope Mission Academy ! Creative opportunities are plenty!


‘Back Packs 2009’ is designed to provide quality education to children who are enrolled in our school program. Your participation can equip a whole generation of children to be worthwhile citizens and men and women of character and integrity – who would have otherwise lived a life of depravity and helplessness.


The minimum suggested contribution for each child is U.S. $ 25  (Sing $ 40) a month. This would include all school supplies, text books, uniforms, a pair of school shoes and lunch on school days.  Please contact us immediately regarding this.


The ‘Back Packs 2009’ is part of the Send my friend to school campaign  that   is a global initiative that challenges schools, students and teachers to take the challenge of Global Education For All with seriousness and sincerity so that the goals of the campaign are effectively fulfilled.





Some of you have enquired about possibilities of sponsoring children in 2009. We plan to take in a couple of girls in February-March  and would appreciate your investment in their lives on a regular basis. Please write to me for details.




We thank and appreciate each one of you for your participation, involvement, prayers and good wishes for the Hope Home Calcutta. We are indeed blessed. Please do write to us regarding opportunities of physical involvement with the work here. We do need volunteers  specially in the area of House Parents, office  and administration, teaching, accounts, and nursing.




"Good, better, best. Never rest till good be better and better be best! Success doesn't come to you…you go to it" – Marva Collins





Dolon (Dorothy)        - March 19

Santu (Samuel)          - March 27


Regards and Blessings,


Dev and all of us at the Hope Home Calcutta



Support for the Hope Home Calcutta should be sent to/checks made out to:


(Please  designate your gift  for Hope Home Calcutta clearly)





P.O. JOKA, CALCUTTA 700 104, INDIA , Tel: +91-33-6534 1083/ 6520 9995

(all contributions are tax deductible under Section 80G of the I.T. Act, 1961)