July 30, 2021

Due to yet another lockdown of Chitpur Slum , where the Creche is based , we are currently supplying relief support to the families of all 40 children who attend the Creche as well as with the wider Chitpur community. The relief packages include groceries (rice, potatoes, wheat, oil, spices etc) and hygiene materials such as soap, toothpaste, sanitizer and masks.
The children are gradually coming back to the Crece on a limited basis , thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project to date , you are all helping to make life a bit easier for the people in Chitpur Slum.

June 3, 2021


With the help of your generous donations, we have been funding The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche for 45 children, aged 2-6 years, in the Chitpur slum in Calcutta, India. By offering this opportunity to young children our hope is to introduce them to education at the earliest stage so that they have a chance of improving their circumstances as they get older. The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche also provides essential supports such as nutrition, hygiene practices and stimulating play time.

As it stands, the Creche is temporarily closed again due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Government restrictions that have been put in place.

Calcutta, being a very densely populated city of approx. 15 million people, faces a huge challenge. Social distancing simply isn’t possible with people living in very close proximity, either on the streets or in the slums. Hand washing, for people who have no running water or who share a tap with multiple other families, can’t be implemented in the same way it is here at home. Stopping the spread of the virus is a massive challenge in these circumstances.

The Government in India are supporting the poorest citizens by providing ration cards which are like food vouchers. As industries have had to shut down, and people don’t have a daily wage, they have no income to support their families. Unfortunately people who are undocumented, most of whom live in the streets or in the slums, don’t have access to the ration cards because they don’t have any birth certificates or social security numbers or any public record of their existence. So, for the undocumented people, the situation is much worse because they have no access to food or ability to purchase food.

The children who usually attend The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche, would ordinarily receive meals and have washing facilities at Creche , so now we’d like to reach out to them and try to help by bringing food to them. The Hope Foundation are distributing food packs to families who now have no income due to the lockdown and they are also providing them with basic protective supplies to help slow the spread of the virus. Those food parcels have now been delivered to families in the Chitpur Slum and though very basic, rice and lentils, will prevent starvation.

All funds previously raised for the Creche, will be used for the Creche, once it reopens , but we are making a separate appeal now to help these families survive until then. We know you all have many challenges right now, including financial challenges and lack of employment and we don’t underestimate the impact of Covid-19 on this country and on all of us as individuals… but if you can spare a moment for those who are not ‘safe at home’ but exposed and vulnerable and suffering, and if you can spare even the smallest amount of money, it really would go a long way in the slums of Calcutta.
If you are in a position to donate, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button at the top of this web site and that money will go directly to the Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche to purchase food parcels for families in the Chitpur Slum.

March 26, 2021

After discussions with the local government in Kolkata, HOPE has been given permission to reopen the creches on a phased basis and with strict guidelines in place.

The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche will now reopen and conduct small sized classes for the children (4 children and a creche teacher at a time) for one hour for each group. The teachers will also continue to prepare worksheets and activities for the children to engage with when they are at home. We are delighted to have the option to have the children back in the creches, even for a limited time.

However, unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are rising again in India and we will have to keep an eye on the progress in Kolkata and West Bengal. If there is any significant rise in cases or if the government require it, we will have to close the creche again and go back to all remote support.


 February 16, 2021

We are currently supplying relief support to the families of all 40 children who attend the creche as well as with the wider Chitpur community. The relief packages include groceries (rice, potatoes, wheat, oil, spices etc) and hygiene materials such as soap, toothpaste, sanitizer and masks.

November 17, 2021

Conditions are still extremely difficult in Calcutta due to COVID so we are continuing to supply food to the Creche community in Chitpur Slum.  The children are gradually coming back to the creche on a limited basis , thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project to date , you are all helping to make life a bit easier for the people in Chitpur Slum.


Latest updates from Chitpur

September 14th 2020

The creche is still functioning at a reduced capacity.  To maintain social distancing and for the safety of the children, groups of 8-10 children have been formed and each group are attending for 1 hour a day.  The parents of the children then get worksheets and activity ideas to do when they are at home.  We're happy to report that almost all children are now attending the centre again.

Proper sanitisation is being carefully maintained.  Each child is given hand sanitiser on entering the centre.  Also, wearing a mask in the centre is mandatory.  Food is still not able to be provided in the centre.

There will be community awareness programmes on measures to follow during this pandemic conducted this month by the creche staff to try and help control the spread of the virus.

August 13th 2020

The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche partially reopened on the 20th July and since then has implemented social distancing and new time slots for class support for the children.  Each slot is attended by 6-8 students and is held for 45 minutes.  There are currently 32 children who are regularly attending the class slots each week. There are a number of children who have not yet been able to return to the creche due to family issues relating to the pandemic.

Along with the classes, the children are given tasks to complete at home.  The crèche teachers have specially designed worksheets for the students based on the curriculum.  The worksheets are designed specifically so that parents can easily guide their children to complete. 

A number of new safety measures have been implemented in the creche:
 - Wearing masks in the creche is mandatory and the children have been given face shields.
 - The children are given hand sanitizer while entering the centre.
 - If a child is ill, the guardians are encouraged to consult a doctor and are asked not to send their child as precautionary measure.

We are hoping that the creche may be able to hold longer classes from the end of September but this will depend on the governments restrictions.



COVID-19 UPDATE URGENT APPEAL

We hope you are all safe at home and navigating the pandemic as best you can. We wanted to give you an update on the situation in Kolkata and specifically how the kids who usually attend the Cathy O’Shaughnessy creche, and their families, have been affected. 

With the help of your generous donations, we have been funding the Cathy O’Shaughnessy creche for forty-five children, aged 2-6 years, in Chitpur which is a slum in Kolkata, India. By offering this opportunity to young children our hope is to introduce them to education at the earliest stage so that they have a chance of improving their circumstances through education, as they get older. The creche also provides essential supports such as nutrition, hygiene practices and stimulating play time. 

As it stands, the creche is temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and government restrictions that have been put in place. 

Kolkata, being a very densely populated city of approx. 15 million people, faces a huge challenge. Social distancing simply isn’t possible with people living in very close proximity, either on the streets or in the slums. Hand washing, for people who have no running water or who share a tap with multiple other families, can’t be implemented in the same way it is here at home. Stopping the spread of the virus is a massive challenge in these circumstances. 

The government in India are supporting the poorest citizens by providing ration cards which are like food vouchers. As industries have had to shut down, and people don’t have a daily wage, they have no income to support their families. Unfortunately for people who are undocumented, most of whom live in the streets or in the slums, don’t have access to the ration cards because they don’t have any birth certificates or social security numbers or any public record of their existence. So, for the undocumented people, the situation is much worse because they have no access to food or ability to purchase food. 

The children who usually attend the Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche, would ordinarily receive meals and have washing facilities at creche so now, we’d like to reach out to them and try to help by bringing food to them. The Hope Foundation are distributing food packs to families who now have no income due to the lockdown and they are also providing them with basic protective supplies to help slow the spread of the virus.  We have personally donated €1,002 which provided 120 food parcels. Those parcels have now been delivered to families in the Chitpur slum and though very basic, rice and lentils, will prevent starvation. The food parcels will last until the end of the month but we are not expecting the lockdown to be over by then so we are looking to raise another €1,002 for the month of May. 

All funds previously raised for the creche, will be used for the creche, once it reopens but we are making a separate appeal now to help these families survive until then.  We know you all have many challenges right now, including financial challenges and lack of employment and we don’t underestimate the impact of Covid-19 on this country and on all of us as individuals… but if you can spare a moment for those who are not ‘safe at home’ but exposed and vulnerable and suffering, and if you can spare even the smallest amount of money, it really would go a long way in the slums of Kolkata. 

If you are in a position to donate, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button at the top of this page any that money will go directly to the Hope Foundation to purchase food parcels for families in the Chitpur slum. 

If you are not in a position to donate, we completely understand and would only ask that you please keep the kids of Chitpur in your thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks and months. 

 

New Creche Opens in Chitpur

The O’Shaughnessy family is delighted to announce the opening of the second Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche in Kolkata, India.  This creche is located in the Chitpur Slum, and caters for 45 children from age 2 to 6 years.

With your continued help and support, our vision for The Cathy O’Shaughnessy Creche is to change the trajectory of a child's life at the earliest possible point, intervene when it's least expensive and most effective, and do it in a way that promotes optimal child development and supports parents' involvement in their child's education and health.   

Studies have shown that children below the age of 6, who lack care and attention, do not develop either mentally or physically as they should.  In slum communities, children who stay without parental supervision for long periods of time are vulnerable to physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse. Crimes against children increased by 24% between 2010 and 2011 and a further 53% from 2012 to 2013 (ICDS study in West Bengal, Right Track-2015). Kolkata is one of the major contributors to crimes against children such as trafficking, kidnapping, rape and infanticide. Children are not only victims to such violence but are in danger of becoming a part of organized crime, especially when faced with disruption in education and lack of parental care.

Young children are often seen as a source of supplementary family income and made to work or beg instead of going to school.  As a consequence, they miss the opportunities to enhance their skills of social communication, cognitive and other developmental skills. Being on the streets is a significant reason for making children vulnerable, depriving them of their rights and entitlements. Children who are not in school at this tender age are more prone to be abused, exploited, and engaged in child labour and at high risk of going on to anti-social behaviour and addiction when they are older.

In Chitpur slum, children under the age of 6 are often left alone at home for long periods of time while their single parent or both parents are out working. These neglected young children are vulnerable to abuse and deprived of care, affection, a childhood and early education facilities. Day care is available in private pre-primary schools; however, they are too expensive for parents.

The Cathy O'Shaughnessy Creche proposes to cater to the educational, health, hygiene and nutritional needs of 45 children below 6 years of age, to ensure their correct development and readiness to enter into formal education at the age of 6.  Children coming to the crèche will generally have both of their parents working or a single parent who cannot give them time; both situations where the children are vulnerable to neglect and abuse. Thanks to your kind donations, Chitpur crèche provides nutritious food, growth monitoring, early childhood care and education to make these young children ready for school and ensure their Right to Education as well as Development. They will be taught about self-awareness and self-protection to ensure their Right to Survival. Parents will also be made aware of the importance of early childhood care and education, how to manage their spending to allocate money towards their children’s education and the importance of children’s development for the growth of the community as a whole. 

We would like to acknowledge the fantastic support we have received from The Hope Foundation is helping us to get these projects up and running, especially from Charlotte & Nessan Kavanagh.

Also sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our fundraising efforts to date.  We're proud to say that very Euro collected goes directly to supporting these children who live in the most awful conditions so every donation really does make a difference.

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.