Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta) is among the most densely populated metropolitan areas of the world, and like all large cities, it faces many challenges. Despite the earnest endeavors of social service communities and workers, however, an astonishing number of people continue to live in destitution and poverty on the city streets. Often they are homeless, naked, hungry, ailing, or dying alone. In addition to the hazards of surviving on the street, young children with nowhere to go are vulnerable to the abuses of sex and labor trafficking.
In 1993, the Greek Orthodox Church created a Philanthropic Society dedicated to helping those shunned by society: the urban slum people, the uneducated, orphaned, widowed, sick, handicapped and impoverished of the community.
The Philanthropic Society provides a variety of life-altering humanitarian services to those who need it most. It ensures nourishment, medicine, shelter and clothing for the needy, homes for orphans, services for the handicapped, city and village health care clinics, schools with qualified teachers, study materials, and sponsorship of rural development projects.
The PSOC runs the Theotokos Girls’ Hostel and the St. Ignatius Boys’ Hostel, two beautiful orphanages to nurture and shelter children in India.
The orphanages are equipped with dental, optometry, and medical clinics which provides free examinations, immunizations, and preventative medical services not only for the children of the hostels but for the people in the surrounding rural area.
The children are given complete care in the orphanages. They are served nutritious food and have access to a free free high-quality education such as at the St. Ignatius English Medium School. To further encourage and support their studies, extra tutoring is provided daily in mathematics, English, Bengali, computer training, and dance. These additional programs have ensured that these children rank the highest academically, and provide the added advantage of developing their personal skill sets.
Ranging from ages 2 – 22, these children and young adults are encouraged to be independent and creative. After leaving the orphanages, these young adults have the tools to succeed in their new lives.
The Theotokos Girls’ Hostel was opened in 1999 and can provide a home to 100 girls.
The St. Ignatius Boys’ Hostel was opened in 2011 and can provide a home to 100 boys.
Both orphanages provide a beautiful, safe, nurturing environmen for the children. They have faced unthinkable struggles before they entered the orphanages, and the hopes they place in proper care and a good education are rewarded when they excel in their studies and personal projects.
Support for Kolkata’s orphanages will mean children in the most extreme poverty will have a safe home, medical care, education and bright futures. Help continue the PSOC efforts by sponsoring a child.