There are 100,000 street children in Kolkata. At the railway stations children on their own take refuge on lit platforms at night, hoping to protect themselves from abuse. During the day they make a few rupees by rag picking, working as coolies or in roadside food stalls. Many are ill and malnourished and often they become addicted to glue, which helps them forget the trauma of their life. Over the past three decades the lives of 3,000 of these children have been transformed by a an extraordinary couple, Tim and Erica Grandage, and their team at Future Hope. I am telling this story in three parts, the first is The Early Years and in the next we'll hear from the children and the amazing things they have achieved with their lives and in the last we'll look at how everyone at Future Hope, teachers, students and alumnae have all reached out into the local community and much further afield to help during the Covid crisis and the devastation of the cyclone that ravaged the Sunderbans last summer. Have your handkerchiefs ready and prepare to feel very humble.
You can catch up on Future Hope's news here: https://www.futurehope.net
The music is a very old well-known folk song called 'Thakur Jamai' sung by Swapna Chakraborty. The lyrics are about a woman telling her sister-in-law to put some extra rice in the cooking pan, dress up in a beautiful yellow sari because her husband (her sister-in-law’s husband or Jamai) is coming home, he’s on the way from the railway station, all dressed up like a dandy, chewing paan to make his lips red...'Get fish from the fisherman, get vegetables, get all ready to welcome him'. It’s happy, celebratory song. With thanks to the Bengal Foundation.