Renovation at Pally Mangal underway

Last autumn we issued a fundraising appeal to extend the CRS centre at Pally Mangal. The tiny one-roomed building was a real squeeze for women attending empowerment and training classes.

CRS supporters Paul Stuttle and Jo Whitehead generously gave £2,400, which with recoverable gift aid, was enough to cover all the costs to build an extra floor.

Renovation commenced in March but had to stop when the coronavirus lockdown started. However, as of June, work resumed and good progress has been made on building a staircase and an upper floor.

Assessment of cyclone damage

The flood waters have receded, and water and electricity supplies have largely been restored, but the damage wrought by Cyclone Amphan will take a long time to repair. With the help of partner organisations, CRS has been able to make an assessment of the damage to communities and buildings.

In Hastings and Brace Bridge, many of the families that CRS support live in makeshift shelters, and these were very severely damaged by the cyclone, leaving women and children in very vulnerable circumstances.

Example of a house with a thatch roof that has collapsed Significant damage was also sustained to houses in the slum communities at B D Colony and Bibibagan, where many families live in single-room houses with roofs made of tin.

In rural areas, where many houses have roofs made of thatch, the high winds and torrential rain caused much damage (example on right of a collapsed straw roof). The communities that CRS supports in Mahamaya and several villages in Jharkhand have reported numerous families impacted.

Overall, an estimated 1,150 families supported by CRS have been rendered partially or fully homeless. In the short term, CRS will be distributing tarpaulins and basic cooking utensils to all these families. In the longer term, these communities will need support to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.

Trees uprooted and signs blown down at CRS office In terms of the community buildings that CRS uses in different locations, there was damage to the roof at B D Colony, Dum Dum, Bibibagan, G B Lane, Mahamaya, and Jharkhali.

Due to fallen trees and debris there was damage to the access paths and areas around the centres at Sukantanagar, Bibibagan, Dum Dum, G B Lane, and Mahamaya. Trees were also uprooted and signs blown down at the main CRS office in the campus of St Paul’s Cathedral (photo left).

The generous donations from supporters across the world to the coronavirus appeal are now being used to provide further relief for communities suffering the double blow from the lockdown and the impacts of the cyclone. If you are able to give more, all the funds will be used to help families in great need.

Mahamaya building officially inaugurated

There were grand celebrations on 30 January 2020 for the inauguration of the multi-purpose centre at Mahamaya.

The ceremony was presided over by the Bishop of Calcutta, Rt. Revd. Dr. Paritosh Canning.

He was accompanied by guests including Revd. Anita Matthews, one of the Trustees of the UK Friends of CRS, Mr. Peter Routley, a long-time associate of and donor to CRS, teachers from Scargill CofE Primary School, members of the CRS Executive Committee, and visitors from Derbyshire.

There are still some finishing touches to be made to the upper floors but this building will soon be in full use for a variety of activities supporting residents of Mahamaya and surrounding villages.

   

 

Bishop visits Mahamaya

Kolkata’s new bishop, The Right Reverend Paritosh Canning, who started his tenure in the summer, has already seen the work of CRS first hand in the city, but at the end of September he made a day trip to see some of the work in rural areas.

Exterior construction work on the expanded building at Mahamaya is complete, although the interiors still await finishing. Nevertheless it is already well used for activities for children and women.

Children filled an entire floor to welcome the guests, who were entertained with song and dance, and a meal. The Bishop was offered flowers and blessed the work being done by CRS in this village.

New display area for Nari Dana products

At 51 Chowringhee Road, just across from St Paul’s Cathedral, stands a spectacular colonial building. This is Bishop’s House, the official residence of the Bishop of Kolkata.

The Right Reverend Paritosh Canning, who was installed as the new Bishop in June 2019, was introduced to the work of CRS at the start of his tenure.

He was very impressed by the Nari Dana project and has generously made space in Bishop’s House for a sales outlet for Nari Dana.

A small area has been fitted out with shelves where products can be displayed. With many national and international visitors and dignitaries passing through Bishop’s House this is a great way to showcase the skills of the women of Nari Dana.