Forum of Communities United in Service

    FOCUS is an NGO working for socio-economic upliftment of the underprivileged population, especially women and children, living in the slums, squatter settlements and pavements of Kolkata and Howrah. Before the establishment in 1985, large numbers of community workers were working independently in small communities in different parts of the city of Kolkata. The organization was established in order to unite these slum communities and to strengthen the grass-root voluntary development work as well as to highlight the problems the bustee populations are facing and draw attention to these issues in the national and international level, as well as take part in infrastructure development. FOCUS is registered under West Bengal Societies Registration Act, has been working in slums and shanties of Tiljala, Dhapa, Tangra, Topsia, Narkeldanga, Rajabazar, Bangla Bustee, Metiabruz, Gandhinagar (Garden Reach), Beck Bagan, Park Circus, Kasia Bagan, Bedford Lane, Kumedan Bagan, Lower Range (Bunder Patti). The organization initially started with training programmes aimed towards bustee volunteers, especially women, as well as capacity building of local small groups, grass-root organizations and CBOs through various training and orientation programmes. The most important objectives of the training programme were to ensure effective delivery of available services and information and to identify local resources for the development of intending community and sustainability. Hence, FOCUS has a long experience of mainstreaming bustee population through various education and training programmes for especially destitute and vulnerable children, such as street children as well as out-of-school children. FOCUS has also much experience in issue-based work with local organizations during communal riots, evictions and in other disasters. FOCUS has delivered services at the time of social crises and natural calamities. FOCUS has also implemented a programme for the upliftment of rag-picker children. This rag-pickers programme provided non-formal education as well as health care and recreation for these children. Door to door waste collection system was also established and the children received training to handle and separate different kinds of recyclable materials from the collected waste using hand gloves. The children were also provided with uniforms. The door to door waste collection system brought about a remarkable change in habit of throwing waste to the streets and lead to overall cleanliness of the premises as well as the surrounding areas.FOCUS has also worked with the UN agencies like ILO, UNICEF, World Bank and other International Donor Agencies on the innovative schemes for the benefit of the urban poor and strengthening Right based opportunities to demand from the Government for equality, justice and empowerment