Walk alongside the poor and marginalized in the mega-cities of the developing world and begin to understand how God can transform lives and urban settings.
Kolkata (formerly named Calcutta) is home to 13-14 million people. The city was founded by the British in 1690 and, as the capital city of the British East India Company, grew to become the largest city in Asia, and a primary political, commercial, and intellectual center. Independence from Britain in 1947 and the partition of the subcontinent into "Hindu" India and "Muslim" Pakistan (including modern-day Bangladesh) resulted in large-scale communal rioting and bloodshed. Kolkata was flooded with millions of immigrants in 1947, 1951, and 1971. These huge waves of immigrants, combined with communal violence, political turmoil, and corruption have contributed to the enormous economic depression in Kolkata that has brought the city to an advanced state of decay and poverty today. Operation World describes Kolkata as the city with the lowest urban standard of living in the world, with 5.5 million residents living in squatter conditions.
Students will be placed based on their skills and interests. For the most part, students will be assigned two placements during their stay in Kolkata. Students will be asked to invest themselves significantly in their primary placements. The primary placement will be in the morning with one of a dozen ministry partners. Opportunities include teaching children in a variety of educational settings, developing micro-enterprises among slum residents or commercial sex workers, or playing soccer with young men and boys. The secondary placement will be with the Missionaries of Charity. Students will have the opportunity to serve the sick, dying or orphaned at one of the many Missionaries of Charity facilities throughout the city. The placements with the Sisters are considered optional depending on students' time and energy.
As students experience daily life and the needs of this community, they may begin to sense God's call to longer-term service among the urban poor.