Stichting Actie Calcutta

SAC Netherlands (Stichting Actie Calcutta; Foundation Action Calcutta) was established officially in 1974 with the aim of supporting the poorest children for education and lodging. It started its work in collaboration with Mother Teresa. The collaboration soon ended after Mother Teresa found it difficult to involve her sisters with administration of the children. Since then SAC collaborates mainly with diocesan priests and religious priests and sisters of various congregations. Initially individual children were supported. But because of the difficulties to monitor the expenditures and because of jealousy of other children SAC changed over to sponsor official institutes like hostels and informal schools only.

There are various types of sponsorships, but in all cases the financial support is meant for all the children in the hostels and schools involved. At the start of SAC many people became interested after Mother Teresa had visited The Netherlands in 1973 and promoted SAC in an interview on the TV. Sponsorship from SAC is experiencing a severe decline in the number of sponsors due to competition in the charity market, aging and death of sponsors and other interests of younger people.

In 2010 there were 3360 sponsorships but the prognosis for 2013 is 2100 only. However, SAC tries its utmost best to design a modern and more attractive outlook to appeal to especially younger people in supporting poor children. In the foregoing years centres were sponsored without a fixed deadline. Various hostels for instance are aided for more than 30 years. The sponsoring of these hostels will be stopped gradually.

The present policy of SAC implies that centres have to strive for sustainability and self support. New centres will be confronted with a limited period of support. In November 2011 the chairman, Mrs. Joke Jansen and the secretary, Mr. Peter Rooimans together with their partners paid a visit to India. Stress laid on the monitoring of various projects and hostels supported by SAC. They also paid a visit to the “Rainbow Homes Coördination Centre” in Hyderabad. Rainbow Homes take care of street children. They get lodging, medical care, food and education. From Hyderabad all the Rainbow Homes in India are coordinated and new homes are developed according to a fixed plan. The visitors were informed about the procedures of the Coördination Centre and specifically on the cooperation with the local governments.

The Rainbow Homes are directed by 8 NGO's. These NGO's interact with the local governments in striving towards CBO (Community Based Operation) and sustainability. The result will be that the government will ultimately finance these Rainbow Homes. The foregoing members of SAC also visited various centres in the dioceses Balasore and Berhampur. They encountered dedicated persons heading the centers but also experienced a lacking overview of the management of the hostels. That means no exchange of experiences.

The SAC delegation has advised the diocesan office to evaluate the management of the hostels. Only then can be decided which hostels need support most urgently. SAC will set the first move for an evaluation report.