We all set off on our 36 hour train journey to Kolkata excited to finally get started with the first project. Our train journey covered 2662 km and took a total of 38hours. A true Indian train adventure, we even traveled in general class packed in like sardines for a 12 hours leg of the journey.

Kolkata: city of love and warmth, sorrow and despair, dreams and hopes, poverty and squalor, grandeur and glory. Kolkata is compelling, effervescent, teeming with life and traditions – a melody of moods, styles, cultures, politics, industry and commerce. Originally designed to accommodate a population of 1 million during British occupation, today Kolkata is bursting at the seams with a population of just over 14 million. Regardless of how many times the ultimate collapse of Kolkata has been forecast in the past, the people of Kolkata remain proud of their city and never give up.

Tollygunge Boys Home

Tollygunge Boys Home

Upon arrival in Kolkata we were met at the station by representatives of the ‘Hope Foundation’ one of the NGOs we would be working with on this project. They also provided us with accommodation in the form of an apartment in the bustling area of Tollygange.

The Hope Foundation is committed to supporting and encouraging the development of underprivileged and vulnerable children living in difficult circumstances. It has a vision of a society in which every child is educated, protected, respected and valued and grows up to turn the tide of poverty.

Boys Rehabilitation Center

Boys Rehabilitation Center

We were invited to attend a sports day held by the Hope Foundation where we got to meet many of the children from their various projects. The day was spent with the children playing games and running races. In between the various events we performed some of the acts from our circus show. This was something the children greatly enjoyed. The PWB was in town and they were going to get the opportunity to learn circus and performance arts. The Children were bursting with excitement of this prospect.

Deciding as a team to work primarily with the Hope Foundation as they had multiple projects with a large variety of children we could reach. Our first week consisted of visiting the various centres and projects run by this organisation, day centres for street children, orphanages and even a boys’ drug rehabilitation centre.

Our first visits were mayhem! The children were wild and excitable shrieking with laughter between a constant barrage of “Aunty!, Aunty!, Aunty!…” or “Uncle!, Uncle!, Uncle!…” desperate for our attention. We quickly realised our best approach was to split into smaller teams and choose six of their centres to work with for the remainder of our three week stay in Kolkata.

By Bruno & Tom

Ash and 2 Girls at a Nabadisha

Ash and 2 Girls at a Nabadisha

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