The Hope Foundation was set up in 1999, to help restore basic human rights to the street-connected children of Kolkata. Today Hope is the largest and most recognized NGO in Kolkata and has a Head Office in Ireland, an implementation office in Kolkata, and since 2007, a branch in the UK.Our focus in the UK is on awareness raising, reaching a wider audience and also to raise funds for the projects in Kolkata. There is one employee in the UK, our CEO; we operate out of a small office with support from dedicated trustees and volunteers. The UK office is based in Buckinghamshire and there are fundraising committees in Buckinghamshire and Somerset/Wiltshire (Bath).In Kolkata we partner with 16 Indian local voluntary organisations, and support them by providing expertise, guidance and staff training. There are now over 700 Indian staff working on our projects across the city.Our projects are rigorously monitored and evaluated and our achievements have been recognised by a number of awards. In 2007 Hope was the first Western founded charity to receive the prestigious Bharat Nirman Award.View our accounts and download our information leaflet.
For the last two decades Maureen Forrest has dedicated her life to people the
rest of the world has either forgotten, or didn’t care much about to begin with.A life-changing journey occurred when Maureen and her daughter Louise visited Calcutta in 1999. Witnessing first-hand the abject poverty, hopelessness and exploitation of the street-connected children had a profound effect on her. Maureen pledged to help the children of the city and did so by creating The Hope Foundation.She has been honorary director of The Hope Foundation since 1999. She works on a voluntary basis and spends six weeks in Kolkata twice each year in spring and in autumn. While there Maureen oversees projects; works with staff and connects afresh with children growing up in HOPE’s care.HOPE and its 16 Indian NGO partners’ main objective is to help abused and abandoned children and improve their quality of life. HOPE is now the largest and most recognised NGO in Calcutta.On her first visit to India in 1999, Maureen worked in Maharastra where many thousands died in an earthquake. In more recent years Maureen and HOPE have responded to two further disasters, the earthquake in Gujarat and the Asian tsunami which hit southern Indian state Tamil Nadu. HOPE firstly responded by taking care of initial needs, and then worked in the longer term to re-build livelihoods and homes. Maureen has a fond memory of the joy of the Tamil Nadu fishermen when HOPE workers handed over new boats to the men. She joined the fishermen on their first trip back to sea after the tsunami.Awards
- Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year (The Wheel, Fundraising Ireland and Vodafone Ireland Foundation), 2008
- International Development Award, Ireland InVOLved Awards (Volunteering Ireland & BHP Insurance), 2008
- Bharat Nirman Award, India, June 2008 (West Bengal, India, for outstanding work and contribution to the street-connected children of Kolkata). Previous recipients of this award include Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. HOPE was the first organisation from outside India to be presented with this honour.
- Rehab People of the Year/International Person of the Year Award Winner 2007
- Vodafone Passion for the World Around Us Award, 2007