MedWise Calcutta Project

Medwise Calcutta Project

Medwise sponsors a class of 10 young girls in the Nav Jeevan home for street children in Calcutta. If you or your company would like to make a donation to the Medwise Calcutta project please click the button, top right.
Please send what you can to:
Medwise Calcutta Project, Bank Of Ireland, Main Street, Naas, Co Kildare.
A standing order for €35 per month will feed, shelter and educate one child.

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About Medwise Calcutta Project:

Calcutta (Kolkata) has a population of 14.1 million people, making it one of the most overcrowded cities in the world. Ten percent of the population are very wealthy while one third lives below the poverty line many in slums and on the streets. The city’s population exploded after independence 60 years ago when refugees arrived from Bangladesh and country people came to escape famine and rural poverty. 

The city continues to have huge socioeconomic issues with overcrowding, high unemployment, intolerable living conditions, traffic congestion and pollution. Administrative problems impair government agencies from providing proper facilities to the masses of poor and destitute. The city depends on various NGOs, religious communities and charities to provide for the basic needs of the poorest of the poor.

Calcutta Project Timeline:


Dr Deirdre Gleeson, Medical Director of Medwise first travelled to Calcutta in January 2009 to volunteer in a health camp run by the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod. With the help of the Irish charity Almas the sisters purchased a small building from which they operate a health clinic, a school, counselling centre and a training centre to help women and children from the slums. The building is called Pratyasha meaning hope. 

There is a small flat for volunteers and many Irish doctors, nurses, teachers and helpers have travelled to stay with the sisters and help them with their work.The sisters run a shelter for women escaping poverty and domestic violence called Asha Dham. Their parents visit and encourage them to persist in their studies; sadly some of the parents withdraw their children to go and beg.

The sisters also run a home for girls born on the streets. The home is called Nav Jeevan meaning new life and offers these girls, shelter, food, accommodation, education and hope for a better future. Women and girls living on the streets have a precarious existence surviving by begging, stealing, drug use and prostitution. They live short lives and suffer all kinds of abuse. It is not safe for a young girl growing up on the roadside in Calcutta. Yet the girls love the freedom of the streets and it is difficult for them to settle down in Nav Jeevan and go to school.


Dr Gleeson returned to Calcutta several times and in 2013 became involved in a new project at Nav Jeevan to shelter and educate a class of 10 young girls aged between 10 years and 14 years; this is a very vulnerable age for girls living on the streets and the project aims to provide basic literacy and life skills to enable these girls break free from the snares of poverty.

It cost a little over €35 per month to feed, clothe, house and educate one of these children. Medwise has pledged to raise at least €5,000 per annum to fund the total cost of running this project. Any surplus funds will go to the charity Almas to help children affected by HIV/poverty worldwide. Any surplus will go assist the running costs of the home


In 2019, The Medwise Calcutta Project began sponsoring a child at the Loreto School in Entally, Kolkata. This school was established in 1843 by Irish missionary sisters of the Institute of The Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Order). 

The Medwise Calcutta Project is registered with The Charities Regulator; RCN: 20100315, CHY: 208969. We receive an annual report on the progress of all the children we sponsor. 

Please join us for our annual sponsored walk along The Grand Canal From Sallins to Landenstown on the last Sunday of August every year.
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