Sunday, December 14, 2014

mustard seeds Calcutta 100 Club December 2014

mustard seeds
Calcutta 100 Club
December 2014

I’d like to introduce the next Calcutta 100 Club campaign. As you know, the idea for this club is that no one breaks the bank but together we all add a donation of $10 (or more if you feel like it) in order to reach a goal that may have meaning to someone else’s life.  For this particular project I have already received a portion of the total donation of $450 so I am looking for approximately $100 more to begin a vocational skills program at a school that runs alongside a brick factory in Kharmagachi. The program was introduced to me by my friend Willeke van Nieuwenhuijze from Stichting Help2Help, who does fundraising in Holland for several projects in West Bengal. I felt this request was well suited to Mustard Seeds: as the children are already doing studies in the morning this will allow the school to get an arts and crafts teacher and basic materials in order to keep the children out of the factory (where they end up working without being paid) and occupied for more of the day.

Our friends at Stichting Help2Help have pledged to provide for a crèche to be set up at the school since many of the students bring along small babies that sit in their laps and require their attention during classes. We would like to help get the vocational program in place. Our pledge is for the vocational Arts and Crafts program (teacher and supplies) that will run for the 7 months of the year that parents migrate to Kharmagachi to work at the factory. We hope to help support this in the future if it takes off well.

**A special THANK YOU TO Chris Rickerd, Lisa Malaney, Mary Hurley and Jude Hill, who have already donated the first $350 for this Calcutta 100 Club campaign.

BUDGET FOR Vocational Training center (9:30 am to 2:00 pm)
School sharing grounds of the brick factory / target: 30 senior students
Art & Craft teacher: Rs. 2,000 x 7 mos.  = Rs. 14,000
Art materials:  Rs. 2,000 X 7 mos. = Rs. 14,000
Total: 28,000  (US$450)

If you would like to contribute to the vocational program from the US, please send your donation by paypal with a note that says CALCUTTA 100: mseeds.maura@gmail and if you prefer to send a US check please email me on the same mail and I can tell you how.

If you would like to contribute in Japan, please use postal transfer yuubin furikomi:
mustard seeds, japan

Nandankanan Sristwi Mahila Unnayan Samity (NKSMUS), founded by Shelley Chatterjee, has successfully been running a school in the factory area of Khamargachi Bricks. Approximately 56 students are receiving education and medical help. Students are provided with school supplies (books, copies, pencils, erasure etc.) and take drawing classes as an extracurricular activity. They attend the drawing classes very joyfully. Most of the students are very regular in class. The school runs from 7 to 9 am in the winter and 6:30 to 8:30 am in the summer. After running the school for three years we found that some families return the next year, so we are getting some of the old students back to our school. They are encouraging the other students to be regular in their classes. Guardians are also very interested to send their children to the school.  Tiffin is one of the attractions for the students at the school; they are very happy to get a balanced meal. 50 students received woolen sweaters last winter. They are very happy to get those.  The group would like to expand the program so that children have more to do after school and also so that they do not have to care for the young siblings they bring along with them.

Problems faced
All parents head to the brick factory for work after dropping their children at school. This means that some children are coming to school with their younger brothers and sisters in their laps; these are infants and toddlers who are too tiny too walk (between 8 months to 1 ½ years old). There is no one at home to look after these babies so the older siblings, aged 7 and 8, bring them and keep them in their laps all day.  These students are unable to fully concentrate on their studies. The situation is disturbing to the whole class because the babies cry, wet and require special attention.
   This organization opened in the grounds of the factory in order to provide education to children, while putting a stop to child labour at the brick factory. The owner of the factory is of the same mind and has provided a school room, however after school finishes at 9 am most of the children run to work at the factory. They are between 10 and 14 years old. Some are working and others are disturbing the work their parents are required to do (the opinion of the factory owner). This is hampering our efforts to stop child labour so we have set forth the following new proposal.

NKSMUS is planning something new to support education at the Brick factory school and we ask for support.
1.    For the babies coming with older students, we propose to start a crèche. In order to care for the babies, we need: a room , a staff person, toys and food.  (THIS WILL BE FUNDED BY STICHTING HELP2HELP)

2.    For those children working in the brick factory after school (10 am - 1.30 pm), we propose vocational training classes (VTC). We hope to have art and craft class, music class, handicraft classes, and exposure to other types of work to help them settle in a different way in future. The class will help them understand their talents and skills since not all children excel in studies or have the means to do well in a school setting.  Through this program they can progress in their life in different way.  We need: a room, materials and at least two staff people.  (MUSTARD SEEDS WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE LAUNCH OF THIS PROGRAM)