“Un passo alla volta mi basta”, (“One step at once is enough”): this famous quote by Gandhi is the main motto of “A Mano A Mano”, a project created by a young Italian woman, Marta Monteleone, 27, coming from the southern italian region of Calabria.
Marta studied Indian philosophy at the University, and after her first visit ito Kolkata few years back, she fell in love with the people of Nimtalla, an urban area on the banks of the river Hooghly, where some of the poorest live in what in the western world we define “slum”.
Unlike with many other big humanitarian organization, it was extremely easy for me to get in touch with Marta and the reality she operates in. Few emails sent from Bangkok while i was waiting for my Indian visa, were enough for her to understand my project and the possibilities of working together.
Some of the current activities include, weekly educational meetings with the kids and time to play, a medical dispensary looking after an average of 15 patients a day, healthcare, Italian and English classes and coordinate activities with the nearby “Gandhi School”, plus dancing lessons on Saturdays and a first rescue course.
Once in Kolkata, right from my second day in the city, i had the chance to visit Nimtalla and personally see what are the day to day challenges and problems of the community.
In just one year of activity, Marta, Carlo and few others volunteers, managed to raise funds in order to pay for school fees, with the results that now many kids regularly go to school and some of them are fully sponsored by western supporters. She still remember the happiness of the kids the day the school uniforms arrived.
Medical assistance is also provided by paramedics and volunteers. Even small infections can worsen very quickly in the hot and humid West Bengal climate, especially when people live in poor hygiene conditions.
In the near future, ” A Mano A Mano” will start other projects, including the construction of a shower with proper clean water, a tailoring workshop and a hygiene course catered to women.
There will also be a Christmas project including a song recorded with the kids available on download coming together with an E-book containing images from the the community and informations and facts about the organization. All the proceeds will go straight to the project.
If you want to know more about this little but very active organization, you can visit their website and Facebook page at http://www.goccenelloceano.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-mano-a-mano/269102963201775. A little donation can go a long way in a place where with few buks a month you can send a street kid to school or provide healhtcare for people in need.