Sunday, 27 January 2013

What is Future Hope all about ?

Future Hope was set up in 1988 to provide a home, education, medical aid and opportunity to some of the children of Kolkata who found themselves living on the streets of the city.  These children suffer extreme poverty and have little or no ability to change their lives.  More than anything they need the love and security of a home.  Future Hope now runs eight homes where more than 200 former street children live and enjoy life. 

Kolkata is a heaving metropolis of some 15 million plus.  People from every possible community gravitate towards the city and it is surrounded by some of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the sub-continent.  The children in Future Hope come from many different backgrounds and almost every community.  Most are forced onto the streets through a combination of economic hardship and broken homes.  Many street children have withstood abuse at the hands of their parents or other adults.

During the day street children roam the streets earning a meagre living and at night and in the early hours many can be found sleeping in the main railway stations of Kolkata – Howrah and Sealdah.  Some street children, though destitute, remain with their families on the street and so have some protection.

Many children sleep alone and vulnerable on the station platforms and surrounding areas.  These children are our immediate concern for they are alone, noticeably thinner and more unkempt than the others.  Many are ill, all are vulnerable and most are exposed to serious forms of exploitation.  It is these children for whom Future Hope was established.

Sport is a key pillar of life at Future Hope and is a daily activity for the children.  We have found sport to be a very effective medium for instilling positive values as well as offering a constructive outlet for children’s energies.  We encourage excellence at sport but are just as encouraging to those who are less interested to develop competitively.

Every afternoon the Future Hope bus sets off for the 100+ acre Kolkata Maidan, a green but dusty park area in the centre of Kolkata.  Depending on the season the children enjoy cricket, football, rugby, hockey and many other sports our creative team can come up with.  Three times a week we have one of the coaches of the Indian women’s football team coach the girls.  For those youngsters with talent we try to ensure this is encouraged and nurtured.  We have five boys attending the cricket academy of Indian cricketing star Arun Lai.  We have two boys and two girls regularly attending tennis coaching at Kolkata’s premier South Club.  It is up early at the weekends for some youngsters as they take part in a rowing camp in South Kolkata.

Future Hope’s best known sporting achievements have taken place on the rugby field where we play officially as the “Future Hope Harlequins”. 

At Future Hope School, as well as in the homes, we hope that each child will learn much of what is needed for work, further education, independence and happiness. 

On the one hand, our children have a normal English Medium Indian education following NCERT guidelines in preparation for NIOS or CBSE Board exams with the accepted range of subjects including:  English, Maths, Social Sciences, Computers, Second Language and Science.

The curriculum includes non examinable subjects such as Art, Singing, a Library lesson, and PE each week as well as a daily individual reading session for each child in the Primary Section.

On the other hand, and unusual in India, is the degree to which the curriculum at FHS fits the child.  Our average class size is a child-friendly 12, our teacher pupil ratio1:8.

We have fast track to support the older child who newly arrived at, say, 12 years old cannot read and needs individual care to be able to join a main street class.  There is provision for individual assistance for the child who needs help to enrich classroom teaching.

The syllabuses are aimed at the important needs of a child who doesn’t have parents to read or tell him stories or someone to discuss current affairs with her.  In this individual work the teachers are supported by a steady supply of classroom assistant and skilled volunteers.  

The website has more details

Saturday, 26 January 2013

A Big Thank You To Sarah

Sarah Outen gave my fund raising challenge for 2013 a fantastic kick start yesterday. She visited two Cheddar Valley Schools and also gave a talk in Shipham, all to help raise funds for Future Hope.

Sarah is the first woman to have solo rowed across the Indian Ocean - She is currently engaged in a human powered round the world journey (London to London Via the World).

Please follow her on her blog and support her journey.

Further Photos

More Pictures from Xmas

India for Xmas / New Year 2012/13

As a family we all went to India for the Christmas holidays. We visited Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the South West.
During our time in Cochin (Kochi) we visited Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan (a centre for street children) and several of the following photos are from the day that we spent there. The other pictures are from Alleppey, Madurai and Kumily.