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Archive for September, 2009

Hope Connect Sep 2009

September 09, 2009 By: dev Category: Newsletters No Comments →

      Hope Connect 


SEPTEMBER 2009  update of the Hope Home  Calcutta


  Dev writes


Dear Beloved Friends:


I thank so many of you for responding generously to the situation I had mentioned regarding the unprecedented rise in prices of essential and food products in India (even staple crops) that is adversely and seriously affecting our day-to-day operations at the Hope Home Calcutta.


The price rise continues unabated.


As I had mentioned last month, prices of some food items increased between 200% - 300% in the past two months! When there are 30 people for each meal present at our table – this adds up to a  substantial amount. Delayed and sporadic monsoon rains, failure of crops, hoarding by traders and exporting essential commodities (like sugar – having a profit margin of over 500% in the international market)  has resulted in this increase.


Honestly, we are hard-pressed to maintain the nutrition/dietary provision for the children at the Hope Home . This is a real challenge for us and as I mentioned last month, we need a meaningful and long-term solution. I would once again like to request all those who are committed to support the children sharing their resources to kindly send in your checks at the earliest convenience. Thank you so much for pitching in!


This month I am elaborating on an issue that burns deep in my heart. Child Labor. You are welcome to write to me for a small article I had written for ICFAI.





Finally, we were able to get the beds for girls with generous gifts of friends from Black Forest Chapel, Colorado Springs . After 33 long months of sleeping on the floor – spread over three locations – the girls are finally able to lie down on proper beds. They are so delighted. We are thankful to friends at BFC for their demonstration of love and care. And may the girls dream sweet dreams hereafter…!



HOPE CENTER FOR EXPLOITED PERSONS (HOCEP)                                            

(A Hope Home Calcutta Initiative)

Rescue Relocation Rehabilitation


Many of you are aware about the widespread trafficking that exists in India . It is frightening to imagine what could have happened to a couple of our girls at the Hope Home had they not been here. What aggravates and in fact sustains trafficking is poverty. We thank God for the Hope Home . However, the need is so great and we have achieved so little…


We would like to remind you that we, at the Hope Home Calcutta (through this initiative —HOCEP, are seeing to work  towards the transformation and empowerment of individuals and communities – ESPECIALLY CHILDREN (CHILD LABORERS)  through initiatives based on advocacy, crisis intervention, education, rehabilitation, training and resourcing.


Human trafficking is the fastest growing form of international crimes, and the need is great. Unimaginably great. Like the fact that in India there are  17  million child Laborers aged between 5 & 14 – the highest in the world. Most of them work 10-13 hours a day often for no wages (only food) or given a pittance.


Look at the facts (estimated):

  •  40% (400 million) of India ’s population is below the age of 18
  • 17 million child laborers in India (world’s largest population of child laborers)
  • Less than 20% of India ’s children go to school
  • One in every 10 children is disabled in India
  • Only 38% of India ’s children below the age of 2 are immunized
  • One in every 5 children in India below the age of 14 suffers from diarrhea

Child Labor is abound as :

  • Bonded Labor
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Domestic Servitude
  • Agriculture
  • Trash collecting
  • Industrial Work
  • Child Miners

Causes of Child Labor and Trafficking

  • Unemployment
  • Greed
  • Lack of education and healthcare facilities
  • Ignorance
  • Dysfunctional family background
  • Contingency factors
  • Discrimination

red alert à I am putting my friendship with some on the line with this (-: I have, in the past protested against a subtle form of child labor by a few of my ‘friends’ and people I know. These well-meaning, some very high profile people bring in children to work in their homes, claiming to treat them as their own children. And I am touched by all that they do for them –feed them well, clothe them well, share their furniture and bathroom with them, teach them how to read and write and on a couple of occasions, I even witnessed them being given in marriage… everything correct EXCEPT that they are NOT treated EQUALLY with their own children : for one, they are NOT  sent to SCHOOL with their children (the household work would then suffer) nor are their own children made to do the household chores like these ‘adopted’ kids! For me, this is DANGEROUS as everything is so seemingly politically correct and  yet, there exists a DISCRIMINATION. And herein lies the problem.

We encourage you to get involved. Please write to me for  details.


This is the story of KALEB, Hope Home Calcutta.


  We continue to put our efforts at HOCEP into perspective.

Kaleb came to us six years ago. His ‘original’ name is Kalu, which in most Indian languages is considered derogatory as it means ‘black’. He was 6 then. There is much confusion about the man who fathered him or  his whereabouts. His mother was in a hospital for tuberculosis for a number of years. A friend of mine, in one of her visits to the hospital to counsel the ill,  met the mother who pleaded with  her to arrange for a ‘proper’ place for her son (later also her daughter). Kaleb was then staying at one of the facilities of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta . We took him in. And later on his sister, Guria.


Kaleb’s earliest recollection of his childhood is “hanging outside their small (7’ x 6’) thatch-roofed, mud-walled ‘house’ on the outskirts of Calcutta,  without clothes on him as it was very hot inside.” He was 4 then. He also vividly remembers himself  falling off into the pond a couple of times – and being rescued by his neighbors - as he was very restless staying out in the open while his mother went to do housework for a couple of homes earning about Rs. 600 ($15) every month. Then she contracted tuberculosis and was sent to the sanitarium while he was sent to be taken care of by the Sisters of MC.


He seemingly enjoyed his days with the Sisters, staying locked in most of the time (after a while Guria too joined in – he doesn’t remember her being born while he was home). He spent his days playing. Often he would offer to help non-religious staff working with the sisters who gladly accepted his help – at times ‘bribing’ him with a little extra food(his helpful attitude is part of his life at the Hope Home Calcutta even to this day)!


His mother Khuku was released from the hospital after a few years. Most young boys and girls from the vicinity of his home work as child labor in tea shops, lathe shops, factories, small-scale units and the like. Many are also recruited by agents of mafia gangs to be part of the ‘exciting’ crime life of the city, ending up specializing in picking pockets, carriers of drugs (children are always considered ‘safe’ – not being easily suspected) and committing petting crimes. Girls are mostly trafficked and sold into prostitution (usually around 7 or 8 years of age). A major socio-economic challenge for which little is being  done by anyone who matters. Kaleb and his sister Guria are only too aware of what could have happened to them had they not been here at the Hope Home Calcutta.


Kaleb today is in Grade 5 and learns the violin. He secured a distinction in music from the Royal Schools of Music last year (Grade 1) and played in the High Scorer’s Concert conducted by the ABRSM. He also played along with 80 other musicians on the occasion of World Music Day, June 21st. And yes, he is still very dark in his complexion, but doesn’t bother in the least about such trifle matters!


Thank you for making a difference in the live of boys and girls like Kaleb at the Hope Home Calcutta.


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, the Hope Education Centre.


The minimum suggested contribution for each child is U.S. $ 25  / Sing $ 40/ Indian Rupees 1100/  a month. This would include all school supplies, textbooks, uniforms, a pair of school shoes and lunch on school days. 


Please consider being involved and soon.



The Hope Home Calcutta family comprising children and caregivers  from five different Indian States (viz., Bengal, Bihar , Sikkim , Nagaland and Assam ) and three different religious upbringings – Hindu, Muslim and Christian – is doing fine.  Every time I mention this in our updates, I am delighted that we have survived and growing strong…!!



Dr. Gary and Rebecca Strobl from Georgia have been spending their Christmas at the Hope Home Calcutta for the past four years. It has been a life-changing experience for them (and the Hope Home Calcutta family is excited everytime they are here). This year, we are also having our dear friends from Colorado Springs to enrich our experience. It would be wonderful if there were others who would like to drop by for this truly amazing experience of spending Christmas at the Hope Home Calcutta. Hurry! book your tickets while they are still affordable! for more  information, contact:

Sue Connell – edandsueconnell@msn.com

Rebecca Strobl - rebeccastrobl@yahoo.com


You are also welcome to write to us regarding opportunities of physical involvement with the work here. We do need volunteers  especially in the area of counseling, administration, teaching, accounts, and nursing.




Some of you have enquired about possibilities of sponsoring children in 2009. A few of our friends who have been involved in the past supporting the children on a regular basis and no longer involved. Please write to me for details.





(Think deeper)… even a lifetime of profits can’t measure up to the respect you earn…(an advertisement for men’s clothing in Calcutta )

John Ruskin

Birthdays in  September 2009


Joshua  :           September 10

Reuben :           September 22

Grace   :           September 25

Ruth     :           September 28

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)