How we acquired 3, Meher Ali Road

In Annie Joseph's words...

The training centre now having shifted to the newly acquired 72B Park Street building, we felt the landlord would no longer have any objection to keeping us as tenants. However, it was not so…now and then he would keep hinting that he wanted us to leave. For some reason he did not want us to continue as tenants and rather than telling us so, directly, he filed a case against us.

We arranged for the matter to be settled outside court. Shahana Dasgupta, a coordinator at Ankur Kala at the time and I appealed to the landlord to give us a year’s time to find a place and relocate. It was imperative for us to find a place close to 72B Park Street as we could not shift our administration and showroom too far away. We called upon friends, relatives, agents, as well as patrons for help.

Finally after much Praying and searching we heard of a ground floor flat just 3 buildings away. With thankful hearts and much excitement we approached the landlord of the property. We explained to him the nature and purpose of Ankur Kala and our vision and mission… he agreed! For the sum of Rs. 18,60,000/-.

We appealed to him to give us 3 months time to raise funds. I approached organisations like Oxfam and Lutheran World Services to fund us. However they refused as it was not their policy to give money towards infrastructure, they were willing to give money for training purposes but could not help us with this.

Three months lapsed…we approached the landlord to give us an extension. Although he had many offers, he agreed to wait for us. The women Prayed fervently twice a day, I wrote to friends of Ankur Kala all over the world asking for help. I wrote to individuals and people who believed in Ankur Kala, many of whom had supported Ankur Kala over the years. Every day I would ask Kaushik if there were any e-mails? Any calls? Any good news?!

One day he finally said “Yes!”. My Taizé friend Francoise Thiesen e-mailed saying she knew someone, who in turn knew someone from the family of Albertine Hary. Albertine was suffering from cancer… she had visited Nepal and India many years ago and had been touched by the plight of the poor. She had been so moved, that as she breathed her last she asked her husband and daughter to request all her friends and relatives attending her funeral, not to bring flowers but to put the money they would have liked to have spent on flowers, in an envelope. This money was to be donated to an Asian organization that was doing good work and needed funding.

During her trip to India, Albertine had not visited Ankur Kala; she had not even visited Kolkata! Francoise Thiesen contacted the Hary family on behalf of Ankur Kala. Albertine’s friends and family donated generously and consciously to make the sum of Rs. 18 lakhs!

Today as I sit writing these lines…in the office donated by Albertine Hary and her friends, I reflect with deep gratitude on the blessings bestowed upon the many women who have benefitted from this unselfish gift. I still marvel the perfect timing of Albertine’s gift to Ankur Kala. This has truly been possible through the power of Prayer.

Photo of our donor at the
3, Meher Ali Road location
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Ankur Kala is a registered charity, in Calcutta, India.