Friends of Kolkata Australia was a Melbourne-based non-for-profit international organisation which organised awareness-raising activities on behalf of two non-government organisations in Kolkata, India: The Centre for Communication and Development (CCD) and The Institute of Social Work (ISW). These
organisations seek to protect children’s and women’s rights by providing communities with access to education, vocational training and health services, and by rescuing and rehabilitating children who have been trafficked and sold into slavery.
Five friends – Chris Turton, Yoriko Otomo, Christian Clark, Lara Thurlow, and Michael Chew, volunteered at CCD and ISW 2004 running a range of programs for the children. We were encouraged by the Indian organisations to continue this work post-volunteering and so on our return to Australia we established Friends of Kolkata Australia. The organisation operated between 2004-2016, running various fundraising and awareness-raising events including photography exhibitions, music performances, talks at schools and universities and information night dinners. We also run a scholarship program to support the boys and girls under the care of CCD and ISW.
One of our core activities was the arrangement of affordable, biannual tours to Kolkata for volunteers who want to stay and work at CCD and ISW. These trips served two functions: 1) to give volunteers experience undertaking development projects in India and experience living with some fantastic kids, and 2) to deliver some benefit to the children and their communities in the form of: direct maths and English education, music and art programs, permaculture projects, jewellery-making, computer literacy, environmental programs, assistance with human rights litigation, building a women’s shelter, and women’s health workshops.
Organisations: Centre for Communication and Development (CCD), The Institute of Social Work (ISW).