Special Funding


Asura Khatoon

Patient of Tala Park Clinic

Asura Khatoon, a 4 year old girl has been on Calcutta Rescue’s Supplementary Feeding Pro­gramme. Her care has been kindly funded by an individual donor who was concerned about her welfare. Asura joined the programme in April 2010. She had been malnourished since birth and this had delayed her walking. She was very much underweight. Six months later, hav­ing had the right amount of food each day, she had reached her correct weight.

Asura lives in very deprived circumstances with her 33 year old mother Mapuja, a sister and two brothers. Mapuja was abandoned by her husband who then remarried twice, keeping Mapuja’s eldest son with him. At that time, Mapuja was living with her husband’s parents but they threw her and the children out of their home after having tried to burn her to death. Mapuja was seven months pregnant with Asura when this happened and she has had difficulty caring for her all her short life.

The family now lives in one very small room with Mapuja’s mother. There is an electric light bulb, a broken bed, and a few shelves on the bare brick walls to keep their few pos­sessions and whatever food they have that day. The roof is a plastic sheet; water pours into the room during monsoon. Mapuja earns  1200 rupees ($28.) a month as a servant. This is not enough to feed the family and is why Asura had such a bad start in life. They cannot af­ford coal for cooking so have to collect roots and branches from nearby gardens for the cooking stove. Some days they are unable to find wood and then cannot cook. Mapuja herself has been experiencing heart palpitations and needs to have an ECG to check out the cause.

The land where the small house is located is divided amongst others in Mapuja’s family, which includes two brothers and a sister with learning difficulties. With so many people squeezed into such a small place, there are of­ten tensions and arguments which Mapuja and her children find very stressful. Asura’s older sister has been fortunate to become a boarder at the Loreto School in Sealdah. Mapuja received schooling up to age 12; she was trying to teach her children at home and had to use a slate because exercise books are too expen­sive. After working 10 hours a day, she has hardly any time or energy to teach. She is spending 100 rupees a month to send one of her sons to school. She hopes one day to be able to afford to send all her children to school.

Mapuja’s other hope is to give her children two meals a day. Although Asura has reached her target weight, she still needs extra dietary sup­plements which Calcutta Rescue is providing as well as some food for the whole family.

Mapuja owns a very small piece of land on her parental property and is hoping to build a little house there one day. This would mean that she would have the security of a place of her own and be able to get away from the problems of living so close to her extended family.

While Calcutta Rescue is looking into ways to contribute to a fresh start for Mapuja and her children, you can sponsor their food benefits through a special donation, or help fund the Special Feeding Programme for malnourished children. Please contact us.

Calcutta Rescue Canada has pledged $50. per month for one year to help Asura and her family.