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Hope Connect Oct 2009

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

    Hope Connect 


OCTOBER 2009  update of the Hope Home  Calcutta


  Dev writes


Beloved friends and associates:


I am preparing our October update early. This is because of two important life-impacting events that we are incorporating in our activity calendar at the Hope Home Calcutta.


First, September 27 – October 3, 2009, is  christened as the “JOY OF GIVING WEEK.” (you could log on to www.ndtv.com for more details). I was so moved this morning to watch the auto-rickshaw drivers in the Indian city of Chennai arranged to provide food for over 500 people this morning – a sacrifice of time and money from their meager earnings. We would like to exhort everyone reading this update to consider giving of your time, talents and material resources to those who hurt and are in need. We at the Hope Home Calcutta too need  you at this point in time as never before.


Secondly, the international movement initiated a few years back, yet widely unknown: October 16 - World Food Day.

WORLD FOOD DAY: providing security

World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October – the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries, raising awareness of the issues behind poverty and hunger.

The World Food Day theme for 2009 is "Achieving food security in times of crisis".

We, at the Hope Home Calcutta started participating with this event from 2008. World Food Day is a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed,  year-around action to alleviate hunger.   



Your opportunity to make a difference

We encourage all our  friends all around the world to host a meal for their friends, family and associates and challenge them to share their resources  that will help put food on the tables of the poor children in Calcutta through the Hope Home Calcutta. Last year, we were able to feed around 50 people for this event. This year  we are planning to organize a buffet for at least 100 people, including the students in our school program. We need your help. We would need a minimum of Indian Rupees Fifteen Thousand for this event (around $ 400 – that is $ 4 for an individual for a special meal). Please consider being involved.




(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):

Ø      40% (400 million) of India ’s population is below the age of 18

Ø      17 million child laborers in India (world’s largest population of child laborers)

Ø      Less than 20% of India ’s children go to school

Ø      One in every 10 children is disabled in India

Ø      Only 38% of India ’s children below the age of 2 are immunized

Ø      One in every 5 children in India below the age of 14 suffers from diarrhea


This is the life-changing life story of Grace at the Hope Home Calcutta:



Grace (Payel) Karmakar came to us 7 years back. She was just over seven then. She came from a slum where the average size of a room is 7 feet by  8 feet. There are about 230 families in this particular slum. Seven years back there was no electricity, no sanitation, no tap-water connection… most of the slum dwellers went to the field near a pond to answer nature’s call.


Grace has a very sad past. It is difficult to talk about this with her. Her father used to collect old newspapers, plastics and bottles from homes and sell them to a local vendor who resold them elsewhere. She shared this tiny, dark and dingy room with her grandparents and uncle along with her parents!


It was one sunny afternoon when Grace was just six that some ‘strange people brought dad back to the slum on a wooden bed’ – he was dead. It was a tragic accident and the sight was gruesome. Grace was not allowed to see the dead body before it was taken to the crematorium to be burnt. She remembers crying, crying…, and a few days later, her mother walked out of the house.


More than the death of her father, Grace suffered the ‘loss’ of her mother. She recollects that for days she visited a Christian graveyard very close to her house ‘searching’ for her mother. She has never seen or heard from her mother since that day over 7 years back (we have tried unsuccessfully to track her down).


That was when her uncle with whom she was staying heard about the Hope Home Calcutta. And Grace was taken in.

Grace has developed as a powerful speaker (in English!) and public person. She learns classical dance where she has already excelled (has been performing in public regularly). From January 2010, we plan to enroll her in one of the best creative dance schools developed by the cousin of Norah Jones (Ananda Shankar School of Performing Arts). At this point of time, she wants to be a nurse when she grows up and care for people.


This morning, while I was interviewing her, I couldn’t hold back my tears. Children from slums as the one Grace comes from are either sold into child labor or prostitution or married off by the time they are 15! And here we have the daughter of a street hawker, able to stand in front of a microphone and speak extempore for 20 minutes! Honestly, I couldn’t do this when I was her age – educated in a school with an Irish Principal, an upbringing in an American Baptist Church in Calcutta and my mother working with the Canadian Mennonites notwithstanding… but then it’s the story of transformed and empowered lives like that of Grace, which is the story of the Hope Home Calcutta!



Next month we would share more about our school project. Education for Empowerment would be a key-thought for our endeavor in 2010.




Most of you are aware of the building project we embarked upon in 2006 to provide proper facilities to children who are part of the Hope Home Calcutta. We had a soccer drive (each soccer ball representing 5%of the estimated costs). Later on we added the girls dorm (as an afterthought!). While we were able to meet our budget needs for the girls dorm (stand-along budget) last December, we are still in a deficit regarding our original building project. We have requested time from the contractor and agreed to pay by the year-end. We request you to consider plugging in with this need.



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 every-time 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.


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 the rest of the months in 2009 and also 2010.  A few of our friends who have been involved in the past supporting the children on a regular basis and no longer involved. Some have also expressed interest in the Back-Pack program. Please write to me for details.





The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it. John Ruskin



Birthdays in  OCTOBER 2009

We can’t believe this: There are NO birthdays in October at the Hope Home Calcutta !!


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)