We are very proud to fund 3 wonderful schools located in the most marginalised areas of Kolkata as well as our largest school in Bhubaneswari which is located 100km south of Kolkata in The Sunderbans.
Built in 1996,Topsia was our first school. Situated on the banks of one of the city's most polluted canals we have witnessed great academic success for many years. Many of the people living in this area are migrants from neighbouring states of West Bengal who came to Kolkata in search of work and now live in the densely populated Topsia area. In recent years, many students have completed secondary education and we are extremely proud to see so many enter college and take up university placements. Given the circumstances in which they live, this is a tremendous achievement, proving that economic conditions need not undermine the spirit of dreaming big dreams in life.
Built in 1997, the Tangra Center is located in the heart of the former municipal garbage dump. It is a happy hive of activity and learning. Our students are mainly children of local rag pickers who make a living by recycling plastic, leather and rubber. Our vocational training program has made great strides in recent years thanks to the generosity of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which kindly donated a derelict building adjacent to our school which we refurbished and which is now our Diamond Centre. Over the years, early dropout rates have improved significantly to now being practically zero and the number of students continuing their education to third level is constantly increasing.
Located in the city's Docklands area,Khidderpore School is a light of hope for the future dreams of students who are children of migrant workers. The School opened in 1999 and has become a wonderful hub of learning and activity greatly supported by the local community. It is in this school in 2018 that we launched our first Adult Literacy Programme for parents & grandparents. In 2020 we were delighted to welcome our great friends, the NGO Calcutta Rescue, to serve the medical needs of this special community on an ongoing basis.
Located just over 100km south of Kolkata in the Sundarban region, the Bhubaneswari Free Primary School is essential in providing education to children from this most isolated region. We provide education to almost 200 children from pre-school level to Class IV (ages 4-11) until they are then mainstreamed to a local government run school. Medical camps are also held here throughout the year by our nurse often accompanied by doctors and dentists from Kolkata. Over recent years this school consistently provides the largest number of students aspiring to attend third level.
We are very proud of the 52 apprentices who are learning Tailoring & Handicrafts through our Diamond Project. The three Diamond Centres are located in Topsia, Tangra and Khidderpore. Each graduate ultimately receives a sewing machine on completion of their 2 years course. Our trainees make all uniforms for our junior students and accept external orders. Many of those involved in the project have overcome great adversity in their own lives and learning a skill in our vocational training programme allows them to generate an income for themselves and their families. An annual highlight for the programme is the 'Handicraft Awards Night' held in Hot Wok restaurant in Chinatown. The handicraft talents of all trainees are on display during this most enjoyable evening and there is great excitement as to whose innovative designs will capture the much coveted 'Sheela Sengupta Award'.
Rajiv Ganguly Sports Tournament.
We believe sport is an integral part in a students development to build their confidence and sense of well being. In 2008, we launched the Rajiv Ganguly Sports Tournament to commemorate the tragic loss of our student Rajiv, who sadly died earlier that year from cancer at the age of 12. Rajiv, a gifted sportsman with a great love for life, was given the task of helping to organise our first Inter-Schools Tournament from his hospital bed. His passion for the event has ultimately resulted in a successful annual Inter-NGO Tournament now proudly held in his name. The first Rajiv Tournament was held in the village of Mushisha in 2009. In 2010 thanks to the wonderful generosity of the Loreto Sisters in Kolkata we moved the event for the next decade to the sacred grounds of Loreto Entally.
Very conscious of the damage which COVID 19 inflicted we are arranging a very special Rajiv 23 which will be held in the paradise village of Falta over the weekend of Jan 14 and 15.
We are most grateful to the generosity of all our friends in Ireland who since 2014 have contributed to parish clothes collections which exclusively fund this wonderful event.