Visiting the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche in Kolkata in April 2019

Following the opening of  the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Crèche  on Friday 1st December, Eddy got an opportunity to visit the project last week as part of the Hope Foundation annual Easter trip to Calcutta (Kolkata).  This is the culmination of months of work by Hope to get the relevant permissions and governance in place as well as the necessary improvements to buildings and facilities to get the crèche up and running.

The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Crèche  caters for 48 children from the Panchanantala slum in southern Kolkata.  As well as pre-primary education, it provides vital supports including supplementary nutrition, immunisations and improvement in hygiene practices for children up to the age of 6.  Participation of parents and other local stakeholders is the key to the success of the initiative and these groups are being actively engaged.

As can be seen in the photos the crèche is bright, airy, and clean in direct contrast to the surrounds of the slum area in which it is based.  The Panchanantala slum community live alongside railway tracks on which the locals conduct their normal day to day life.   A major fear for parents is the easy access children have to the tracks and unfortunately there have been many accidents where young children have been killed by the trains.  Life in this community has been grim and the young children who struggled everyday just to survive had no hope of this ever changing.

The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Crèche now offers hope of a better life for these children by introducing them at a very young age to the first step in education, as well as regular daily meals and healthcare.  It has been proven that when children from the slums start crèche at this young age, they're highly likely to continue in the school system and ultimately progress to further education and careers, making a better life for themselves and their families and allowing them to escape the cycle of poverty.

The goal of the Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche is to give these children a leg up, a chance of a better future, the first step in them getting out of the awful conditions in which they live, all the things children in the Western World take for granted.

We would like to acknowledge the fantastic support of Charlotte Nagle and Nessan Kavanagh from HOPE who helped us every step of the way in opening The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche, their commitment to the underprivileged children of Calcutta is nothing short of amazing.

We're so proud that this wonderful Hope facility will carry Cathy's name.  This couldn't have been achieved without the fantastic support we've received to date and we're very grateful to everyone who has donated and also those who helped with organising the fundraising events.   We are committed to supporting these children and fundraising will be ongoing.  Below are some photos from Eddy's visit to the creche. 

A huge thank you to our good friends Dave and Marie O'Brien who raised €775 at one of Dave's recent talks in Cork.

 

The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche has

opened!

We're thrilled to announce that the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche opened its doors on Friday 1st December.  This is the culmination of months of work by Hope to get the relevant permissions and governance in place as well as the necessary improvements to buildings and facilities to get the creche up and running.

The creche will cater for up to 100 children from the Panchanantala slum in southern Kolkata.  47 have already enrolled for this year.  As well as pre-primary education, it will provide vital supports including supplementary nutrition, immunisations and improvement in hygiene practices for children up to the age of 6.  Participation of parents and other local stakeholders will be key to the success of the initiative and these groups are being actively engaged.

It has been proven that when children from the slums start creche at this young age, they're highly likely to continue in the school system and ultimately progress to further education and careers, making a better life for themselves and their families and allowing them to escape the cycle of poverty.

We're so proud that this wonderful Hope facility will carry Cathy's name.  This couldn't have been achieved without the fantastic support we've received to date and we're very grateful to everyone who has donated.  There will be an ongoing annual cost estimated at €10,817, to run the creche so we hope we can continue to rely on the generosity of our community, family and friends.  

We hope to get out to Kolkata in spring 2019 to see the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche first hand and we'll post more news and photos here as we get them.  In the meantime here are a couple of photos from the opening last week.

Our Visit to Kolkata

To get a better insight into the situation in Kolkata myself and my Daughter Gemma decided to visit the Hope Foundation Projects in Kolkata on March 29th , to see first hand where our funding was going .We spent a week there visiting the various projects that Hope have set up , and saw first hand some of the amazing work being done by The Hope Foundation

 We visited the school in Gariahat that we had funded and met the street children , we also got to visit a crèche which will similar to The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche .

 The street & slum children in Kolkata have nothing , no education , no future , no hope , they live in the worst conditions I have ever seen , surrounded by rats , and filth .Their families have never had an opportunity to get education , and the children are destined to follow exactly the same path , living on the streets or in the slums , barely existing .

 But we also spoke to the children in the Hope Projects , and thanks to education and good nutrition they see themselves breaking out from this cycle of ongoing poverty .

 We have decided to concentrate on the very young children , aged 2-6 , in the Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche , we feel that we can give this children the first step to having a real future , when they will finish in our Creche at 6 years of age they will then go on the Hope Foundation Schools , and so continue a journey which will lead them to a good education , this will then mean that they will get good jobs , and have a future that they would otherwise never have .

 One great example of this was a girl we met who had just qualified as a Solicitor , having come into the Hope system as a very young child , we also spoke to two 16 year old girls who were on course to becoming a Nurse and a Teacher respectively .Without the support of organisations like Hope these children would be destined to a live of abject poverty living on the streets and in the slums .

 So having seen ourselves the impact that can be had with a proper support system we are very much looking forward to the opening of The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche , and giving these children the chance to take the first step to having a future that they deserve .

Katie Holly, Writer and Catherine Horgan, Musical Director, presenting the proceeds of the preview show of The Flowing Tide to Eddy O'Shaughnessy.  These funds go directly to support the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche in Kolkata, India.  This new creche will open in the coming months and will look after 50 street children aged 2-6 years. 

CHARITY PREVIEW OF "THE FLOWING TIDE" A ROARING SUCCESS

The crowd at the Schoolyard Theatre last Thursday night were treated to a wonderful showing of the musical comedy, "The Flowing Tide" written by Katie Holly, with this exclusive preview being held in aid of the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund. The night kicked off in style with live music and a cheese and wine reception in the lobby. The show that followed had the crowd laughing throughout and was a tremendous production from cast and crew, including live music from local musicians. The crowd were encouraged to sing along with the actors which led to a great atmosphere and a fun night for all. 

A massive thank you to Katie Holly and the cast and crew for putting on such a wonderful show. Thanks also goes to everyone who helped out on the night, Valerie Foley, Brenda Hanotin and Catherine Holly for looking after the bar for the night, The Schoolyard Theatre, Lee's Centra for donating cheese and The Wine Buff for donating the wine. Finally, thank you to everyone who bought tickets and came to support the fundraiser. The night was a great success, with over €1,500 being raised. This money will go a long way towards helping us reach our target for the year.

Pictured below some of the audience from our exclusive preview of the Flowing Tide.

An exclusive preview of The Flowing Tide by Katie Holly, will take place on 1st March.  Katie has very generously agreed to donate all proceeds to The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund.  Katie's shows are always guaranteed to entertain and guests are invited to a complimentary cheese and wine reception before the show at 7pm.

Tickets are €20 and can be booked from Gemma on 087 127 1144.


Jim Foley presenting a cheque for €1,908.94 to Eddy O'Shaughnessy for the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund.  Also pictured are Brenda Moynagh Bowles, Breda Foley, Joe Foley, Grainne Foley, Eileen Hanley and Valerie Foley of the Glen Wren Group.  

The Wren Boosts Cathy's Hope Fund

to the Tune of €1,908.94

Christmas continued into Stephens Day in Charleville and surrounding areas this year as the Glen Wren group brought carols and festive cheer to the local pubs, to raise money for the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund.

The group, led by Charleville's Jim Foley, sang and played their way around Kilmallock, Bruree, Ballyagran, Newtown and Dromina before finishing with a tour of Charleville's pubs.  The reaction was fantastic, with €1,908.94 collected on the day.  The group would like to extend a huge thank you to all the publicans for their support and to everyone who contributed so generously to the charity.

This money will be used to support The Hope Foundation's projects in Kolkata, India, where they work to alleviate the poverty and suffering of street and slum children.  The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund was launched in 2017 to help create opportunities for these children and some of the O'Shaughnessy family will travel to Kolkata in March to see the work in progress and identify new projects for the Fund to support. 


Eddy, Amy, Gemma and Colin O'Shaughnessy, presenting a cheque for €14,000 on behalf of the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund, to Charlotte Nagle of the Hope Foundation.

CATHY'S HOPE FUND OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED

The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Hope Fund – Supporting the Street & Slum Children of Kolkata, was officially launched at Geary’s Bar, Charleville on Saturday 22nd July.  This fund has been set up by Cathy's family to help create opportunities for children who are most in need.  Friends and relatives gathered to lend their support and the first fundraising cheque was presented to Charlotte Nagle of the HOPE Foundation.  

Introducing the fund, Eddy O'Shaughnessy said, "Cathy was a very caring and loving person who always put others before herself and young children were always close to her heart. We believe that she would be proud to have her name attached to this fund and we hope that the love we all had for her can now benefit children who don’t have someone like Cathy in their lives, helping and supporting them throughout their childhoods. For us, this is a long-term commitment and our ambition is to find a project, through The Hope Foundation that we can fund entirely each year, and that Cathy’s memory will have a lasting impact on many children for a long time to come.”

Speaking about the family's partnership with The Hope Foundation, Eddy said, “The work that The Hope Foundation are doing in Kolkata and the passion they have for the children there is inspiring. Partnering with them means that the money raised can be used very effectively.”

Already the Cathy O’Shaughnessy Hope Fund is starting to make an impact, thanks to a recent donation, 52 street children are now fed and educated at a HOPE facility daily.

Cathy’s family will travel to Kolkata with The Hope Foundation in November this year to see the centre that has received this year’s donation and to meet the children attending this centre. During this trip they also intend to identify where to target funds in the future.

Some of the family and friends who joined the O'Shaughnessy family in Geary's Bar, Charleville for the launch of the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund.

Images from the Hope Foundations Gariahat Naba Asha Childrens Home in Kolkata which has benefited from the Cathy O'Shaughnessy Hope Fund in 2017.