10th Anniversary - Helping the less fortunate in India
How CTR Was Started, Developed, and Where It Is Today
Lady with the haunting face ...
After about 22 years of living abroad, Ellen and I visited India in Dec/Jan of 1997/98. We had a wonderful holiday, showered with love wherever we went, which made us realize what we had given up to live in the USA. While in Calcutta, volunteers of CAISS, a charitable organization, showed us how some Anglo-Indians were living in the slums of Tiljallah. It was appalling to see fellow beings living in such inhumane conditions of filth and squalor, forced to resort to primitive means of survival. People without income and no hope. It seemed unconscionable to me that we were living our comfortable lives while fellow community members were living in such abject poverty. I felt deep anguish and silently resolved to do something to ameliorate this suffering. For years I was haunted by the face of one particular lady (see photo to the right of the page).
In 1998 I plodded through complicated forms and, with luck, got a charity registered with the Internal Revenue Service (in the US, donations to registered charities are tax deductible, a necessary condition to attract donors). To give it international recognition, we called it Calcutta Tiljallah Relief and started to collect funds. The charity was registered to help "indigent Anglo-Indians in India" - not that others did not need help; it was just that our capacity did not extend that far. (We reverted to the acronym CTR a few years later, because "Calcutta Tiljallah Relief" was misleading, giving the impression that the charity only helped persons in Calcutta when, in fact, it was helping persons in many major Indian cities.
In 1999 CTR started by creating a pension scheme for about 20 seniors in Calcutta, administered through CAISS. Also in 1999, CTR Canada had a fund raiser in a small community hall in Toronto, and CTR established a presence in London, UK. In 2000 we added about 20 seniors in Madras, administered by the charity 'Vine Charitable Trust'. In addition, in 2000 we started to sponsor the education of children - 10 day scholars and 10 boarders. In 2002 Ellen and I went to Australia, set up branches in Melbourne and Sydney and had fund raisers in both cities. Today we have branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, London, Toronto, and New Jersey - a truly international charity. Money is banked in the country where it is collected and sent directly to India. Each city has a coordinator, and in 2007 we all got together in Toronto. We have been fortunate that our team has remained unchanged for all these years.
The Team in Toronto. (L to R) - Cheryl Chater, Jenny Busby,
Blair Williams, Yvonne Peters and Marilyn Goss
[missing: Jean Chambers]
Our project administrators are located in Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and their details are:
Kolkata (CAISS TRF, HRF & Education) - Ms Philomena Eaton, 98/2 S N Banerjee Rd, Kolkata 700014, West Bengal - (170 seniors and 65 day scholars)
Kolkata (Loreto) - Sr Bendicta, Loreto Convent Entally, PO Tangra, Kolkata 700015, West Bengal - (36 boarders)
Chennai (Vine Charitable Trust) - Mrs Rachael Thurley, 42/19 Kulandai Velu Street, Purasawalkam Chennai 600007, Tamilnadu - (70 seniors)
Chennai (Smile Cares) - Ms Sharon Emmett, 20/2 14th Street, Anjugam Nagar, Kolathur, Chennai 600099, Tamilnadu - (30 day scholars and 30 seniors)
Chennai (Teacup Ministry) - Ms Clarice Eling, 64 Ground Fl, 3rd Varadammal Gardens, Kilpauk, Chennai 600010 - (15 boarders and 10 day scholars)
Bangalore - Mr Maurice deRebello, 242/1G, 4th Cross, Borewell Road, Whitefield, Bangalore 560,066, Karnataka - (30 seniors)
Hyderabad - Ms Margaret Studden, I-125, Vaishali Garden Apts, Tarnaka, Secunderabad 500017, AP - (25 children)
We always encourage our patrons to visit our projects, if and when they go to India.
We have always tried to run a transparent charity and post the annual Income and Expenditure statements on our website. It is worth mentioning two unique aspects of CTR that we are very proud of:
No single person associated with CTR is paid, either in cash or in kind. All our associates are volunteers
We have negligible administrative costs - less than 1/10 of 1%
Every year we attract more patrons and are able to extend our support in India. We also believe that CTR is trusted across the countries where we operate, including India.
Going forward, we see CTR adopting more senior programs and sponsoring the education of more children. We invite anyone, anywhere, to let us know if there is a destitute group of seniors or children in need of educational support. We will certainly try to help. In addition, we will continue to raise the amount we provide for each pensioner and each child.
There is a legitimate concern that when we pass on, support will cease and our constituency in India will face major hardships. To reduce this possibility, we have created a reserve that will continue to fund all our projects for at least five years beyond our lifetimes. We have also started to build teams in each center. In the USA, we have had a valuable addition in Chris Francis.
Helping others is a mysterious process - and I am not trying to over-intellectualize it. Many persons worship God but do not help his children. We have good intentions and always mean to help, but translating these sentiments into action is not always easy. It requires defining what is "enough". Singling out names is always risky, but we must acknowledge the contributions of Neil D Hamilton of France and USA. He has been extremely generous and we thank him for his caring.
CTR has been fortunate in attracting many supporters over the years, and we hope their numbers will continue to grow. We thank you, our patrons, for your trust and support. God willing, we will be together for at least another ten years. I hope your association with us has been as meaningful for you as it has been for us. Let me unequivocally assure you that you are making a difference.
As always, please feel free to email me at any time, and do continue to browse our website.