Incredible India! Incredible Calcutta! These words have been something more than a slogan for the group of 15 volunteers from Spain (with a good number of volunteers from Valencia), Italy and  United States that have taken part in the humanitarian mission organized by VIDA – VIS Foundation, from the end of July up to the half of August, 2017. These words have been really more than a slogan; these words were translated in an extraordinary reality, in a wonderful experience. We are going to share a bit of what happened … The mission has been realized in several Centres. Two of them have been founded by the Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Prem Dan and Napo Jibon. The first one is runned by the sisters of the Missionary of Charity and there the girls of the group have carried out their volunteer work. Prem Dan is near  Park Circus train station and nearby  live several hundreds of persons, most elderly and sick. The second one, Napo Jibon, is near Howrah’s train station and there the boys of the group carried out their work. This Centre is held by the brothers of the Missionaries of Charity and it offers a home for almost a hundred of men,  the most with serious disabilities. In addition, we also served in Nirmal Niketan Centre, which our NGO supports entirely and it’s held by the “Missionaries of Word ” in Kabardanga, in the periphery of Calcutta. In this Centre, approximately 50 disabled children receive formation, food and, some of them, also a place where to live. Here the volunteers dedicated their service painting the exterior and the interior parts of the Centre. The volunteers painted the outside wall and all the rooms and corridors of the second floor, realized thanks to an important donation made to our NGO. There have been some particularly significant moments that the volunteers had during this period. First, before beginning the mission, we had to prepare together with other volunteers, 5.000 packages of food for people that had been hit by an alluvium due to the strong monsoon rains that in this period flooded good part of India. This was an initiative of sisters of the Missionary of Charity. We spent many hours in preparing the packages with great physical effort, but finally we made it ending in a climate of happiness and team spirit among all the volunteers that faced with generosity this humanitarian emergency. Another particularly important activity was the preparation of “Home for Homeless “. For years, VIDA takes forwards this initiative in favour of the persons who live in the streets or in the poorest slums of the city. With the help of the brothers of the Missionaries of Charity, we prepared and distributed packages of food to more than 100 families. It is necessary to emphasise the day we took the children of the Nirmal Niketan to the Victoria Memorial. The differently able children of our Centre spent a good time of conviviality with our volunteers, visited this important museum and enjoyed a good meal based on pizza in the gardens of this monument. Thanks to God it was a sunny, perfect and unforgettable day for all of us. In addition, the children Nirmal Niketan offered us a very emotive festival the day in which we inaugurate officially the second and third floor of the Centre. Other volunteers of other humanitarian organizations participated at the event. The singings, dances and poems that the children offered, besides the affection that they demonstrated us in every moment of the festival, made this historical day one of the most intimate moments of the mission. Each one brings home this unique experience. For all it is going to be unforgettable, because there is a beginning and a after that marks your own life. To be where Mother Teresa initiated her  heroic mission, to visit her tomb, to coexist with the sisters that continue her work, knowing other volunteers, touching in directly the misery that thousands of persons suffer in India, to overcome the numerous obstacles that Calcutta offers, to know a very diverse culture from ours … all these facts make it  a very particular experience, which transforms lives, only a person that sacrifices  his  vacations to make the neediest happy can understand this great miracle. We want to be grateful to all those who have made possible this mission: every volunteer, who has been a particular gift; the persons who have followed us from abroad, but with their hearts closely to us; and the benefactors who have supported us to carry out the diverse soldiery projects. Thanks to all and see you soon!
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