When Norah Merriman invited me to travel to Calcutta with her group in February
this year I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, to meet face to face with
those involved with the Hope Foundation was a privilege. Their selfless dedication
to improving the lives of so many impoverished and destitute people, from babies to
the very old, was truly inspiring.
I got to witness first hand their day to day support and interaction with these
beautiful people by travelling one evening with the night watch mobile dispensary/
clinic that visits 3 different slum areas on a rotating basis each week. A doctor, nurse
and social worker travels with the unit who check if there is anyone in need of
assistance. They have gotten to know the people living in the slums and assist them
wherever possible, providing medical and social care, etc. that they otherwise would
not be able to access.
On our visit to the Hope Hospital the group was delighted to see that a new third
floor extension had been built since their visit last year. This extension, through the
great vision and determination of one of the Indian doctors working at the hospital,
was built with donations received, providing a new operating theatre which will help
improve the quality of care given to the very poorest in Calcutta.
Also on the positive side, street children are still being helped to get an education,
along with life skills training to help them on their way as young adults. We met
two such young men who were street children and are now employed in the Hope
Hospital. I also got to meet another young woman who is now a social worker. It
was wonderful to see how their young lives were turned around with the help given
by the Hope Foundation.
We also had an opportunity to visit two nursing homes for the elderly. The residents
are the very poor who were found living on the streets with no one to care for them.
Their lives have been helped greatly by those who now look after them, providing
them with food, shelter and a warm bed. We had the privilege, also, of volunteering, on a daily basis, in a small hospice where destitute men and women are rescued
and taken into care, and where they receive much needed treatment.
Although I witnessed terrible conditions in the slums of Calcutta – a sight hard to
imagine unless you see it first hand – those living there were people of great warmth
and a welcoming smile. – Marian
On behalf of the poor, destitute people and street children of Calcutta, a very sincere
thank you to Margaret Leonard and her Bingo Team at St. Mark’s G.A.A.
Club for €546 raised through the raffle, to Margaret Goulding and her Crochet/Craft
Ladies for €560, and to everyone who dropped in donations to us personally and to
the office totalling €4,549. All of the above initiatives are only possible with the
help of your very generous donations.
Kind regards, Norah Merriman and Marian Kavanagh