MANTRA: Working to secure children’s futures amidst the chaos

If you see a cup as half full and do your bit, shoots of hope will crop up and soon the cup will fill up. MANTRA is one such organization that saw a crying need for corrective action and is working on filling the cup.

It began in 2004 when Dr. Pratishtha Sengupta started a medical clinic for the children in the neighbourhood. MANTRA evolved from there to start a small school to educate needy, disadvantaged slum children in south Kolkata. AID began supporting the project in 2004 and the relationship has grown since then. The school began as a collaborative effort with local community teachers pitching in to teach these children. Slowly more and more children began showing up to learn and the organization ran out of space. Dr. Sengupta managed a small clinic basically sharing a room which served as a medical clinic as well as a school for the young kids. 

The second wave of COVID has hit the community very hard and disrupted their lives which has not yet recovered from the first wave 2020. Loss of income compounded the problems for the slum workers and the children’s education went for a toss because of social distancing and lockdowns. Online classes, where possible, was the only alternative. Reaching out to every child and supporting their needs became an imperative for the field workers. 

With the help of social service students from Kolkata University they are teaching the families the basics of how the infection spreads and the importance of vaccinations and personal hygiene. Realizing the need for a holistic approach to the problems facing these children they are also reaching out to the local authorities to provide material support for these families. 

How will AID support them? MANTRA needs assistance to put out a health guideline which will assist the community in their efforts to deal with the pandemic. MANTRA will conduct a family level assessment to understand their needs and provide a start to end support route in the health guideline, by listing the volunteers and medical support groups they can reach out to, their emergency numbers, fair price medical shops and assistance with their transport needs.

Once such a survey is completed the health guideline will be published. They are also seeking funds to support printing and distributing it to every household in the locality. They are also looking for assistance in procuring medical equipment such as scopes and other medical resources which will help them deal with the present and future contingencies that may arise.

Your support will help MANTRA and other such organizations give these children the care they deserve at this critical time.

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