"How can you convey excitement in a city where disadvantaged people are in their millions, where you see them in every corner, where looking away is impossible?" These were the words of María de Muns, the young Director of the Colors of Calcutta Foundation, at the 2014 SOCIAL AWARDS ceremony. Granted annually by Fundación MAPFRE, the awards distinguish people or institutions for outstanding achievements that benefit society as a whole in the fields of science, culture and the humanities.
Her Majesty Queen Sofia presented the award for "Best Solidarity Action" in recognition of the work carried out by this organization (2006) through its "comprehensive healthcare program in the Pilkhana neighborhood of Calcutta". Known as the "City of Joy", this area is home to 100,000 people living in extreme poverty. In Pilkhana, "fathers work on their bikes for countless hours, families live on what they collect from the garbage, and women chip stones and carry bricks on their head so that their children can survive", stated María de Muns.
Together with its local collaborator, the Indian NGO Seva Sangh Samiti (created by local residents 48 years ago), the Colors of Calcutta Foundation implements this project through a medical center where around 25,000 people are seen every year. Seven thousand of these patients are children who benefit from medical care in pediatrics, physical therapy and dentistry.
Last year more than 1,600 mothers attended workshops on health education. Part of the program, these workshops aim to teach guidelines for hygiene and diet, mostly in relation to babies and children.
This project also includes treating children suffering from malnutrition; in 2014, 112 children were seen, of which 6 in every 10 are girls.
The award ceremony, held in Madrid, was also attended by Susana Camarero, Secretary of State for Social Services and Equality, and Antonio Huertas, President of FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE. The event was also attended by leading figures from the social, cultural, political and business world.
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