Address by Consul Ulrich Maier on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the project "Construction of a Vocational Training Centre for Women in Distress" in Jemo, Kandi, Murshidabad, on Saturday, 27th November, 1999,

Respected Mr. Roy,
Liebe Landsleute,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is for me an honour and a great pleasure indeed to have been invited to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a vocational training centre for women in distress here in Jemo. This project is a brain child of Mr. B.N. Roy who is with us today, the founder of the Gandhi Child Help Association in Bad Camberg, Germany, and also of the Bijoyendu Memorial Trust, its Indian Partner Organization, which is responsible for its implementation. Before I say a few additional words about the concept of this project, I feel obliged to elaborate a little bit more about the background of Mr. Roy, the main benefactor.

Mr. Roy lives now for over 40 years in Germany. He had a good job, a comfortable life-style but he never forgot the place he grew up in right here in Jemo. After his retirement in Germany he did not opt as so many others for an easy life of old age but he felt strongly compelled to give something back to society for his good fortunes. So he decided to help the needy, the poorest in his native country with which he kept closely in touch over the years.
With a lot of enthusiasm, organizational skills and his excellent connections to many inf1uential people in Germany and here in India, he managed to found this NGO supporting physically and mentally handicapped children in India and other disenfranchised in this society. By appeals to the general public and the media he managed to receive a sizeable amount of donation money from Germans of all walks of life. This money he put to good use here and elsewhere.

The German Consulate General in Calcutta is therefore very happy to be associated with the construction of this vocational training and has for this purpose allocated a grant amounting to 350,000/- Rupees. However, this sum would nothave been enough to realise this project. To make up the difference Mr. Roy's assistance was necessary by making available donations given by the Ministry of Economics in Hesse, the townships of Bad Camberg and Limburg, the Continental Insurance Company as well as by many ordinary Germans.

However what is particularly remarkable and laudable about this project is its comprehensive concept. This training centre designed to house women who have been physically or mentally abused or have been forced to leave their homes because of being threatened together with their children will find shelter, legal advice and financial support for the necessary time required to adjust until they can get re-integrated into society and look after themselves again.

But this project is just the beginning: Later on or partly already in existence measures are lined up to be carried out like a workshop for handicapped, where they learn basic vocational skills to produce items which can then be sold, with the proceeds going directly back to them. Further planned is a home to look after children without parents, programmes are developed to promote the education and training of children from the poorest back-grounds by giving them the means to visit a school, i.e. supplying them with books, writing materials, a small stipend, clothes and food. Further plans comprise the construction of a poly-clinic to secure the provision of basic health facilities with the intention of engaging Indian doctors from here and abroad to provide free basic health care. Good drinking water supply has been secured by donating pumps. Fresh food disbursement ip. schools, hospitals and nursing-homes are organized and meals are provided for the poorest of the poor. All this is achieved by a group of concerned people in Germany, who use their spare time for this worthy cause.

All the measures mentioned are designed and meant to help the poorest and neediest, to give them new hope and to encourage and enable them to look after themselves in the long run. Help for self-help in the true meaning.

Mr. Roy, Respected Town Clerk
You deserve all the praise for your efforts, your hard work and dedication to make all this happen.

Thank you all once more again for giving me this opportunity to be with you and to have the privilege to lay the foundation stone for this worthy projcet.

I wish everybody involved all sucess - Thank yau again.

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