She came to India about twenty five years ago working as a volunteer for an organization. However the sad plight of the children and the women compelled her into thinking about them. This is what led her to form The Hope Foundation which imparts hope among so many individuals today. The lady is none other than Maureen Forrest, Director of The Hope Foundation who is behind the Hope Foundation’s works in the country as well as in Ireland. The lady was recently in the city on a yearly visit. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with Ms. Forrest to know more about her vision for the down trodden in India and that for The Hope Foundation.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– What is the story behind the initiation of the Hope Foundation?
Maueen Forrest– Coming to India and seeing all the misery around made me realize that I needed to do something and make a difference in the lives of the poor here. It was not at all an easy choice for me at that time. Monetary help as well as help from the people were required to set up an organization. Luckily I started on a small scale with my daughter in Ireland. Then funds started coming in when people came to know about my work. The Irish Government funds the health programs and events that we organize. As a result we work systematically.
What do you enjoy the most about the work that you do with The Hope Foundation?
I enjoy the fact that the people who work with Hope Foundation become my colleagues. This gives me a great feeling.
How many times do you come to India to supervise the activities here?
I come to India for a period of four months every year. I spend two months during the spring time and two months before the onset of winter.
Do you have any fond memories of your stay in Kolkata that you can share with us?
Well I have a lot of fond memories of my stay in the city. I love the city anyways. However the biggest memory that I retain is a child from an underprivileged family doing good in their life. This gives a huge momentum to the work that we do.
Apart from putting in efforts to provide primary education and a hospitable living condition to the poor, what more does Hope Foundation aim to achieve?
We will take care of the fact that the children get the chance to continue higher studies. Also we will try to make women self reliant so that they are in control of their lives and do not have to depend more on their men folk. This will only enable them to lead better lives.
We as the citizens of India have a lot to learn from Maureen who, in spite of being an Irish national has dedicated her life to the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden in India. We wish Maureen the Very Best for her Future Projects and hope that more of our countrymen will come forward and support Ms. Forrest in here wonderful initiative.