Young women & girls living on the streets and in the slums of Kolkata are extremely vulnerable to violence, abuse and sexual exploitation, due to lack of access to education and training they are unable to escape from the devastating cycle of poverty into which they were born.
THE HOPE FOUNDATION
is a non-profit charity based in Kolkata, India. They help children living in poverty on the streets by giving them homes, education, food & healthcare.
Founded by Maureen Forrest in 1999 the charity have grown in this time to now run numerous projects including a 52 bed hospital, a creche for market sellers to drop their children so they are not roaming the streets, 8 protection homes for boys and girls, an effective education program and life & training skills to help young people into the working world and give them a passport out of poverty.
Free Spirit & Hope
Free Spirit first visited HOPE in May 2016 and was overwhelmed with the work that is being done and the difference HOPE are making to these children's lives. We have visited every year since to volunteer or take part in various projects.
We spent the afternoon at one of the girls protection homes, where the children show their paintings, their dancing and even taekwondo! Laughing & giggling like any teenage girls, you would never know they came from such poverty stricken beginnings.
We chat with three of the girls who are “passing out” next week... The first girls of the project to turn 18 and to leave for the big wide world. Hope also help with this transition by finding them paid shared accommodation, emotional support and help to look for work in skilled areas such as IT or textiles... giving them wings to fly the nest that has become their home. The girls are naturally nervous but excited at the same time...like any girl of 18...it's scary going onto face new challenges in search of their future. Without Hope, none of this would be even possible.
Hearing the hopes, dreams & aspirations of these children just like any priveledged chilld is truly inspiring. And seeing the difference that Hope are making to young lives, to experience it first hand has been a truly humbling experience...
This is why Free Spirit are reaching out to help. By donating 3 months worth of educational materials for every t-shirt sold - this will enable more children to go to school and to have access to the gift of education that so many of us take for granted.
We are also committed to regular visits to the HOPE foundation in Kolkata and have a number of further projects underway - watch this space!
Education Changes Lives - It's a Human Right
The Hope Foundation believes that education is the passport out of poverty. It is the key to building an independent, successful life.
Education offers street and slum children a chance to escape poverty, to enjoy better health and to live longer. It means that more children live free from exploitation and childhood can be a time of fun and learning.
HOPE believes that education is critical for the development of society and for enabling those have been excluded to become included in mainstream society.
HOPE’s Holistic Education Projectstarted in 2007 and provides support to the poorest and most vulnerable children. The programme also works with community groups to raise awareness about the benefits of sending children to school.
HOPE and its partners run pre-schools for first generation learners, that is, the children of parents who have had little or no schooling.
They also have Coaching Centres where support is provided to children going to mainstream primary and secondary schools. These centres provide homework support, nutritious meals, counselling, extra tuition and recreational activities. This helps children to progress through school and cuts down on drop-out rates.
HOPE is hugely committed to education.
- Growing numbers of under-6s in pre-school
- Thousands enabled to continue mainstream formal education thanks to support in Coaching Centres
- Increased awareness in community groups of State resources and how to access them
- Reduced gender disparity in child education
- Stronger capacity in partner NGOs thanks to training
- Improved networking and advocacy regarding child rights.
To read more about The Hope Foundation visit their website at http://www.thehopefoundation.org.uk/