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Bekind Ireland Foundation helping hands for street children

Bekind Ireland Foundation
A group of 20 young boys from Kolkata along with their six caretakers today enjoyed a toy train ride, one of the many activities that have been packed in their Darjeeling itinerary. They are former street children, all under 10 years of age, who have now been taken under the wings of the Bekind Ireland Foundation.

Bekind Ireland founder Brian Flannagan, and his wife Martina Flannagan, are Irish citizens. The foundation was initiated in 2006 and is supported by the Hope Foundation which has been working in Darjeeling since 1999. It currently supports 20 boys below the age of 20 at a boys’ home in Kolkata. They are all being taken care of and educated in English medium schools. After the age of 10, the children move to the Aashirvaad Boys Home of the Hope Foundation in Tollygunge. There they are taken care of and supported until they turn 18.
Brian, who is a car dealer at Nissan by profession, said, “In 2005, when I came to India, I was so saddened to see the huge income divide that persists here, that I was inspired to do something for the underprivileged children. In 2011, along with my son, I met Hope Foundation and founded our Boys Home in Kolkata.”
Brian still visits India twice a year and organises annual vacations for the children and staff. After a trip to Puri last year, they have come to the hills now. He believes that it is a learning experience for the children and also a much-deserved break for the staff. Brian is greatly inspired by HOPE founder Maureen Forrest, who once said to him, “Do what you can, not what you can’t.”
None of the directors or the staff receives a salary and the bulk of the donations that come from benefactors go towards the wellbeing of the children. The boys are sponsored by families in Ireland. In addition, Irish students aged between 15 and 16 come to Kolkata every year to interact with and help the boys.
The boys, who arrived yesterday, will be staying here for five days. Their busy itinerary includes a trip to Tiger Hill tomorrow, jeep excursions and evening movies. They seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and were all smiles at the Railway Station today. (EOI)

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