Kolkata is one of the rapidly growing urban centers that have experienced approximately double the increase in its population over the last few years. It is a hub for cultural and financial activities in East India. The major reason behind this increase in the population of Kolkata is because of the migration of people who shift to cities in search of a better life. They become victims of Urban Poverty and struggle to make their ends meet. Apart from this, these people also suffer from lack of infrastructure, poor sanitation, lack of employment and unsound health conditions.
SOS Children’s Village in Kolkata was established in 1977 as a result of the sincere efforts of Mr. A.L. Dias, the then Governor of West Bengal and a few committed social workers.
The Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 saw a mass exodus of people from East Pakistan (territory of Pakistan before birth of Bangladesh) to India, particularly to West Bengal. In the chaos that followed the war, many children became homeless & orphaned. A registered Society namely SOS Children’s Villages, West Bengal, India, was then formed to provide care to these children. The then Governor of West Bengal Mr A.L. Dias was named ex-officio President, and eminent social workers, educationists, administrators and industrialists of the city as members of the Society.
On 28 Feburary 1977, the SOS Children’s Village Kolkata started functioning with 16 children from a Government run reception center of the State of West Bengal. Mrs. Joan Dias Inaugurated the Children’s Village Kolkata on 17th September 1977. The Village was dedicated by Dr. Hermann Gmeiner on 21st January 1978.
SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGES KOLKATA
At present, SOS Children’s Village Kolkata has 131 children under the care of loving SOS Mothers and SOS Aunts. Children are welcomed warmly in the SOS Village and all necessary efforts are made to help them adjust with their family and environment.
The academic performance of children under our facility has seen rapid improvement and growth with respect to their scores. The pass percentage of children giving their board examinations in class X and XII now goes up to 100%. Apart from the regular studies, added training and coaching is provided to children to enhance their English speaking skills. Various workshops and seminars are also organized to spread awareness among children on social issues like Child Protection Policy, Cyber Crime, and Road Safety etc.
All festivals of national and international importance are celebrated with fervor in the SOS Children’s Village. Such celebrations are also regarded to be the time when children bond with their family members in the best way.
At present, the total number of youth under our facility is 77. While many of our youth are still studying in school, the rest are in college. Youth in SOS Village Kolkata are involved in sectors like Cruise Management, Hospital Management and many others, where they work full time. The ones who are still in school perform well in studies and have also scored brilliantly in their X and XII board examinations. Various sessions on topics like sex education, importance of health and hygiene in one’s life, HIV/AIDS Awareness are organized in the village to keep our children updated with the ongoing issues in society.
FAMILY STRENGTHENING PROGRAMME (FSP)
The Family Strengthening Programme in Kolkata was initiated to help vulnerable families come out of the vicious circle of poverty. At present, the FSP in Kolkata renders support to over 300 beneficiaries.
Livelihood income generating activities are undertaken for families in order to improve their overall standard of living. The FSP ensures active participation from all communities and its members in the training and coaching sessions organized by SOS India. Skill development of the beneficiaries is focused upon by FSP and its workers to help families become capable to involve themselves in income generating activities in their daily life; this will lead to ensuring their survival in future.
The aim of the FSP is to help families reach self-reliance. Once a family becomes self-sufficient, they exit the programme and is replaced by another new such family.
HOW TO REACH
The SOS Children’s Village is 7.8 km away from the Kolkata Railway Station
It is 13.9 km away from the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, West Bengal