Together We Make Calcutta Kids Possible
Honestly, the odds were stacked against us this last year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, we’re a small organization built on providing care in the clinic, visiting women and children in their homes, and convening beneficiaries for fellowship, learning, and discussion — all activities that require being together in person.
But over the course of this trying period, we learned that while we are small, we are also mighty. And our might comes from the relationships we’ve forged and fostered over our 16 years — relationships with our beneficiaries, our team, our partners, and you.
Because of these relationships, the pandemic didn’t derail us; rather, we were able to sustain and deepen our connections with existing beneficiaries, welcome new beneficiaries, and reimagine the ways in which we support women, children, and adolescent girls in Fakir Bagan.
Here are a few specific ways in which the special, tight knit Calcutta Kids family we’ve created with your support has enabled us to evolve, grow, and make an impact over the last year.
Our beneficiaries became unofficial Calcutta Kids ambassadors
In 2020, to protect the health of our team and the community, we indefinitely paused in-person outreach to and registration of new beneficiaries. This left us without a formal pathway to explain what we do or to learn when someone needs our services.
Then something remarkable happened: Our beneficiaries took it upon themselves to promote Calcutta Kids within Fakir Bagan. When a woman became pregnant or delivered a baby, beneficiaries let our team know who to reach out to and how. Since then, our team has registered many new beneficiaries this way and, bolstered by the recommendation from friends and neighbors, has quickly established bonds with these women and earned their trust.
Our staff kept their jobs and remained a lifeline for beneficiaries
During a time when many organizations have been forced to lay off staff, we have — with contributions from donors like you — kept our team intact. As a result, our community health workers have continued to provide beneficiaries with essential health services, health information, and emotional support throughout the pandemic. Many beneficiaries have told us that maintaining this connection with our team has helped them feel less lonely during this otherwise isolating time.
For our staff, most of whom live in the slum area where they work, employment has meant financial security and a sense of purpose during this period of uncertainty, fear, and listlessness.
Our partners strengthened our ability to meet beneficiaries’ needs
Because of the rise in domestic abuse during the pandemic, we partnered with the Mudita Foundation to train our community health workers on how to identify abuse among our beneficiaries and connect them with appropriate services. Since then, our community health workers have incorporated these principles into their counseling, leading one beneficiary to disclose the physical and emotional abuse she had been experiencing at home. Our team was prepared to provide support in dealing with and healing from that traumatic situation, and worked with the Mudita Foundation to identify the appropriate next steps.
You continued to invest in us and the families we serve
As you know, a few months ago we jumped at an opportunity to become a COVID-19 vaccination site for all eligible beneficiaries. Your support has made this and everything we do possible. We’re so grateful for your generosity, ideas, feedback, genuine care, and commitment to uplifting women, children, and adolescent girls in Fakir Bagan. In short, we’re grateful you’re part of the Calcutta Kids family.
Going forward, we plan to build on the lessons learned this year and sustain the innovations that have worked well, like providing time-sensitive health services virtually when beneficiaries travel back to their home villages. We look forward to accomplishing even more together in 2022.
With warmest holiday wishes and many thanks,
Noah Levinson & Evangeline Ambat
Co-Directors, Calcutta Kids