Calcutta Rescue

Focus: Children and Youth, Education, Health, Livelihoods

HEALTHCARE saves lives and education transforms them – and Calcutta Rescue provide both.

They have four free clinics, including one on wheels, treating hundreds of patients every day, programmes to prevent illness and a school where a different kind of medicine is handed out – large doses of hope.

Former pupil Priti Thakur puts it this way: “Calcutta Rescue is my temple where all my dreams and wishes are heard and fulfilled.”

She came to the charity's school aged six after she and her mother had fled to the slums to escape Priti's abusive, drunken father.

The school provides two meals a day, educational support and extra coaching for its 650 young, underprivileged students in a bid to get them ready for mainstream schools.

Priti flourished and with Calcutta Rescue’s support, aced her way into a government school where again she shone. She graduated and went on to do a bachelor's degree in business administration at college. Now she has completed her MBA and is working in a private company in New Delhi.

Big-hearted Calcutta Rescue donors from their international support groups contributed towards her MBA, costing Rs 4.5 lakh.

Smaller donations can be just as useful!

Starting in 1979 as a street clinic on Middleton Row by British doctor Jack Preger, Calcutta Rescue now have a Street Medicine ambulance that visits different slums in Kolkata each day and treats over 9,000 patients annually.

Calcutta Rescue are also there to help those who are ill earn a livelihood. A handicraft programme that started as a supplementary employment opportunity for former patients now creates Fairtrade products which are sold around the world.

There are also two handloom weaving projects providing employment for struggling rural youths. Among other things they manufacture clothing for the charity's young pupils, winter shawls for the needy at the clinics, and even the bandages the medics use.

Rural districts are also the focus of the charity's safe drinking water programme, which was set up to try to cut down the cases of arsenic poisoning in areas with ground water contamination in villages in West Bengal. This programme in Malda district now provides safe drinking water to 12 villages.

Calcutta Rescue now have their sights set on bigger premises to allow them to improve infrastructure and provide better services to their beneficiaries.

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THREE primary healthcare clinics in the city treat hundreds of patients every day. The team of doctors and health workers also run specialist programmes to treat TB, cancer, HIV and leprosy – a non-fatal disease that attracts profound stigma. Plus, they provide support for the disabled, including mobility aids like crutches and wheelchairs. Rs 935 a month can supply medication for a diabetic patient requiring insulin. Rs 5,800 per month treats an extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis patient.

Street Medicine

ON the road six days a week, this clinic on wheels stops in different neighbourhoods to provide treatment and health education to street dwellers. Much of this involves de-worming, and measures against lice and scabies – all common ailments of the homeless. Food and clothing are also handed out, along with vital mobility aids like crutches. This programme has had great success in early detection of leprosy and TB, allowing for crucial medical intervention at the first stage of the diseases.


AROUND 650 children from local slums are given coaching and support designed to help them thrive in mainstream government schools. Calcutta Rescue first prepare four to six-year-olds using the Montessori method for admission into state schools. Then they continue to support the youngsters with classes in computers, drawing, dance and singing – as well as two meals a day and medical support. Transport is also provided to ensure regular attendance. The monthly cost per child is Rs 1,450.

About Calcutta Rescue

Calcutta Rescue are doing a wonderful job whether of tending to the sick (including HIV+ patients) or kindergarten students or coaching Class 9 and 10 students for Board exams, mid-day meals, rations to poor patients and students.

Ashesh Ghose, Kolkata

Now I know that beneath the smiles often lie pain and uncertainty, the impact of Calcutta Rescue on these children’s lives will stay with me long after I leave. I hope more children are given the chance to find there is more to life than simply surviving.

James Fox, volunteer child psychiatrist, UK

  • Jaydeep Chakraborty CEO
  • Alakananda Ghosh Deputy CEO, Medical
  • Ruby Sen Finance Manager
  • Ajit Karar HR & Admin Executive