CRS provides support for marginalised and disadvantaged communities in three thematic areas – education, health and women’s empowerment. There is also a centre for young people with disabilities. Special initiatives include football and a new social enterprise for women.
Children – CRS supports 13 Education Centres for children from deprived communities. In the classroom they are taught a range of subjects but there is also a focus on personal development and life skills. This programme is vital for enabling disadvantaged children to enter the mainstream education system and improve their life chances.
Teacher training – A group of teachers from Derbyshire in the UK visit Kolkata every year to deliver ‘continuing professional development’ to CRS teachers including demonstrating methods for teaching phonics and mathematics in simple, fun and effective ways.
Health – CRS supports 9 Health Centres in disadvantaged communities offering a range of curative and preventative services. These provide regular health checks, screening programmes, awareness camps and specialist referrals. This programme is vital for treating short-term illnesses, chronic diseases and disabilities.
Disabilities – CRS runs a Training Centre for Differently-abled Persons (TCDP) offering courses to young people with physical and mentally disabilities. The students learn skills that enable them to earn an income and be more independent.
Women – CRS supports women’s empowerment programmes in 10 locations, which includes training courses in practical and financial skills, awareness raising classes and self help groups. This programme is vital for giving women self-confidence, financial independence and a sense of equality.
Nari Dana – The latest initiative is an exciting new partnership between a UK fashion designer and ladies in Kolkata’s slums. A small group of women have been selected as the first employees of a new production centre and will sew and embroider items for sale in the UK.
Football – CRS has set up football teams for boys in several of the Education Centres. These nurture teamwork, motivation and pride, and the teams enjoy periodic matches against each other.