March 18, 2018

Prayasam finds Success with Catering School

Prayasam finds Success with Catering School

It's difficult to share in written words or even video how impoverished the slums of Kolkata, Inda (Calcutta) are for those in need. It's not just food and shelter but spirit and often any sense of hope for the future. I'm fortunate to know Amlan Ganguly and the positive leadership he is bringing to the communities of West Bengal and the little children, boys and girls, working like men in the outdoor brick kilns.
Amlan's revolutionary methods appealed to my brain and heart. His vision was to organize and develop the children of slum areas as empowered change agents by forming groups and creating sustainable advocacy on health education, environment and livelihood within their community. He would teach the children and they would carry the message and actions into the community.
When I reached out to Amlan in 2015, he shared a dream to open a food catering service that these kids living in the slums would operate. The kitchen project would provide training in food production, marketing and distribution. My role was to set-up online training via skype with chefs in the US. We also provided an online curriculum for safe food handling. My primary food photographer set-up a food photography course so they could photograph their meals and food for menus and marketing materials to expand their reach. We developed a database of foundations with a focus on food and lead the team to solicit funding.
This has appealed to the kids and they see it as an exit from unskilled labor to a career in restaurants, hotels or in setting-up their own enterprise. The Commercial Kitchen now involves 30 adolescents from the source areas of Bidhannagar and South DumDum Municipalites of West Bengal, India and they are managing the kitchen.
In 2016, Prayasam added me to their Executive Committee and it's been an emotional experience to see the results that continue to occur to this day.
If you are interested in providing support, there are many ways to get involved.
Become a digital volunteer, intern in India, or share with someone that might be interested:
http://www.prayasam.org/get-involved/
Donate
Online - https://www.omprakash.org/global/prayasam/donate
Direct Wire Transfer -
Payee Name - Salt Lake City Prayasam
Bank Name - United Bank of India
Branch - Salt Lake City
Type of Account - Savings
Account No. - 0720010105139
SWIFT - UTBIINBBOVE
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