Fresh from their victory in Clontarf last Thursday in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League, the Irish cricket team is supporting HOPE’s appeal for a new donor for its Tollygunge Boys Home in Kolkata.
The cricketers first got to know The Hope Foundation during the Cricket World Cup in India last year when team members visited a number of HOPE projects for street children in Kolkata. Phil Simmons, Team Coach, said “we were humbled by what we saw in Kolkata. The work of HOPE is truly amazing and we are so deeply honoured to be part of it. Kolkata is one of the most populated cities in India and children here experience the harshest of realities, if we can help to change lives, we must do it”.
One of HOPE’s projects is now in urgent need of a sponsor, a Protection Home for over 60 boys who previously lived on the streets in dire poverty and at risk of abuse. The Irish cricket team kindly took time out of training last week to join the appeal to help secure a donor for the running costs of the boy’s home.
Maureen Forrest (Hon. Director, HOPE) has said “children who have been abandoned or sold by their parents rely on us for protection – we are the only positive adults in their lives and we cannot walk away from them. We appeal for your support in helping to continue to protect these vulnerable children. We were honoured to have spent so much time with the Irish cricket team in Kolkata last year, as they visited the HOPE projects and are grateful for the team to continue to extend their support to us as they embark on this exciting cricket journey. They are truly wonderful ambassadors for our country and for HOPE.”
About HOPE’s Tollygunge Home
The HOPE Tollygunge home is a positive, protective environment for over 60 boys who would otherwise be forced to live in isolation on the streets of Kolkata. Without HOPE, they would be forced to engage in child labour, the horrendous child sex-trade or be trafficked across borders and countries into an uncertain fate. HOPE house parents ensure all the children are taken care of in the most loving and positive way possible – they have a home with HOPE.
The home provides:
- Providing educational support to the boys, preparing them for formal school;
- Providing guidance and additional coaching to the boys, many of which would be first-generation learners;
- Working with schools to help prevent truancy and children dropping out of school;
- Generating awareness among the children on different issues such as cleanliness, personal health and hygiene;
- Providing vocational training and computer training to enhance skill development.
- Providing daily nutritious meals to the boys, catering for their physical growth and overall development;
- Providing psychological and recreational activities in the home for all boys, for their physical growth, psychological development and to improve performance;
- Developing creativity in the boys through dance, art and other extracurricular activities;
- Providing healthcare and emergency healthcare to the boys as required;
- Providing medical support to the boys extended family;
- Supporting the boys to regularly meet their parents and extended families, to enable a sense of responsibility for their children’s education and to bring stability into the children’s lives;
- Providing educational sponsorship to extended family members of the boys in the home;
- As the boys grow too old for the home, they are supported in placement in Hostels, in which the house mothers and counsellors carry out frequent hostel visits;
- Regular home visits are also conducted, to allow the boys to travel to their native hometown ensuring the children are familiar with their background culture;
- Monthly parents meetings in the home are held giving parents the opportunity to discuss their child’s progress;
- Care givers constantly undergo the upgrading of their skills and knowledge through training sessions.
- Raising awareness among local people about the need for children to receive a good education;
- Strengthening government schools and health centres;
- Working with parents to improve their committees and enabling them to have a positive impact on the schools.
Even in these difficult times in our own country, communities and individuals around Ireland continue to reach out to those in greater difficulty. For more information on the work of HOPE please call 021 429 2990 to help make a difference.