All Bengal Women

Project Brief: A residential school for under-privileged children.
Project Type: Child Home (description)
Primary Focus: girls (description)

Secondary Focus: orphans

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: London
Status: completed - sustainable
Project Steward: Ipsita Sinha
Project Partner(s): Abesh Choudhury
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , ,,,
Stewarding Chapter: London
Mar 2011LondonGBP 4500
Mar 2011LondonGBP 4488
Jan 2010LondonGBP 600
Aug 2009LondonGBP 4000
Aug 2009LondonGBP 500
Mar 2008LondonGBP 4000
Dec 2006LondonGBP 4000
Oct 2005LondonGBP 2000
Dec 2005LondonGBP 4000
Oct 2003LondonGBP 4000
Dec 2002LondonGBP 4000

Total = $57168.44432

The All Bengal Women's Union maintains a Welfare Home and Primary School for under-privileged children in Calcutta. The union provides clothes, food, counseling and education to the children and encourages them to become self-reliant socially-responsible citizens. The direct beneficiaries of the project supported by Asha for Education, are 30 girls who come from very poor socio-economic backgrounds. Some are orphans, some have been abandoned and some are children of prostitutes; most children are seriously malnourished. In addition from January 2012, Asha is looking to provide support for setting up a community educational centre for 20-30 slum children who are first generational learners in order to help them bridge the gap to mainstream education.
The specific objectives of this project are:

1. to impart formal education
2. to create an interest in education amongst children and to invoke an awareness of the importance of education amongst parents
3. to monitor the health of children as many suffer from mal-nutrition, scabies, tuberculosis, malaria and water borne diseases
4. to provide nutritious supplementary diet
5. to provide basic medication as and when needed, and
6. ultimately bring the children into the mainstream society

Other considerations/objectives:

1. employ and retain good quality teachers
2. purchase various teaching aids to improve the standard of teaching
3. monitor growth of the child by maintaining a health card which will record the weight and height of the child
4. keep a record of the child’s immunization status
5. take children out on educational tours if possible
6. encourage recreational activities such as painting, drama and dancing in order to facilitate and nurture talent.
7. Provide consultancy by showcasing and sharing its project experience in model villages.

Current Rehabilitation Strategies:

1. Education - Primary, Secondary & sometimes University level
2. Vocational Training encompassing a broad range of skills such as tailoring, embroidery and machine knitting; bakery; spice grinding; painting; jute crafts.
3. Provide counselling and set up therapeutic art project for children from troubled backgrounds.
The organization has eight separate units: an adult home, children welfare home, old age home, primary school, production centre, a hostel for working women, sponsorship committee & a nursery school. The Executive Committee is composed of 45 people. Secretaries & joint secretaries head the respective working committees and run the units. People within the working committees tend to rotate amongst the eight units; this rotation is strictly enforced.

The grass root volunteers are primarily from the local community. The main volunteers perform administrative duties as well as grass root level work. Most of the office-bearers and volunteers are graduates/further qualified.

Their ability to network with other organizations such as government agencies has proved beneficial in selling the home-grown products (such as saris) produced by the women within ABWU. Several doctors volunteer their time to provide medical care to the women residents.

All Bengal Women's Union was opened in 1933 by a group of women. It was closed in 1939 around the time of the second world-war and reopened in 1943 soon after the Bengal famine. The focus then was on providing shelter to women and children adversely affected by the famine. After the Bengal partition in 1947, refugee women and children were sent to the Home from government camps. Vocational coaching was provided to the older women, and children were sent to schools. Resettlement into houses in the outskirts of Calcutta followed. In 1949, new premises were provided by the Government and a maternity centre was started for refugee unmarried mothers from Pakistan who were largely victims of the riots. In 1950, the Home for children was started to provide shelter and care for children of destitute women. It began with 50 children and has since grown to 180 children residents.

ABWU was recently in the news. You can read more at

Please do take a moment to view the documentaries at: (Part 1) (Part 2)