Maureen Forrest

Honorary Director

I take this opportunity to say a huge heartfelt "Thank You" for your ongoing support to HOPE, which enables us to continue our invaluable work with the poorest, most vulnerable children and communities living on the streets and in the slums of Kolkata.

We are all part of an international family, whose members should work together to help the underprivileged in our society and in doing so make their own lives and the lives of others a better and more compassionate world to live in. Children have a right to grow up in a protective environment; every child in the world is entitled to the care and protection that a family can provide. Children will not be free from exploitation until all levels of society, from the immediate family to broader international community, work together. Universal responsibility is extremely important for the betterment of society. The Hope Foundation’s mission to work towards "a world where it should never hurt to be a child" is at the heart of all of our work.

The family is a child’s first line of protection; having no parental protection can expose vulnerable children to all forms of exploitation. It is of primary importance to The Hope Foundation to try and reunite abandoned children with their families and communities. Many of these children have been deprived of their most basic human rights. They have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Children have a right to grow up in a safe environment and, where necessary, they need to be cared for in Homes and night-shelters, thus ensuring their protection from the horrors of street-life.

A world devoid of compassion is a world without love. We live in a secular world enraptured by consumerism. No matter how rich we are, if we have no compassion towards our fellow human beings, then our lives become empty and meaningless. To give to those in need is its own reward; no one has ever become poor by giving. Children do not choose the circumstances into which they are born and those of us who are blessed to be born into privileged lives have an obligation to redress this imbalance. It is our role in The Hope Foundation to provide a bridge between those who can help and those who need our help the most.

Addressing the problems facing the thousands of street children in Kolkata will appear to be insurmountable to the majority of people. By raising the awareness of the public in Ireland, India and internationally about the hardships faced by the children on the streets of Kolkata, The Hope Foundation wishes to affirm the sanctity of each child. All great faiths around the world place a priority on child protection. Our challenge is to promote this priority every day in our family, community and professional lives, in our private sector and in our Government policies.

We in The Hope Foundation sincerely thank and acknowledge you for your incredible generosity and ongoing support.

“As an old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young girl ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally, catching up with the young girl, he asked her why she was doing this. Her answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish” said the old man. How can your effort make any difference?” The young girl looked at the starfish in her hand and then threw it safely in the waves. "It makes a difference to that one"
(An old folk tale)