Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service

Improving the lives of poor and marginalised people in India CRS was established in 1971 by Canon Subir Biswas of St Paul’s Cathedral in Calcutta (or Kolkata, as it is now known), in response to the repercussions of the civil war in what is now Bangladesh.

Thousands of refugees poured over India’s North East border into Kolkata, swelling existing slums, and creating new ones. Initially, CRS provided emergency relief to provide food and clothing and mobile medical units. CRS has subsequently evolved from providing relief into a non-governmental development organisation, which is what it is today. The aim is not to provide aid or give hand-outs, but t

Operating as usual


Check out the latest Friends of CRS newsletter to find out what's going on in the education, health and women's empowerment projects.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 13/03/2022

This week, Helen from St John's, Belper caught up with Indrani and Madhulika from Scott Lane, Kolkata to talk about how their return to school is going. The children are in for 2 days a week now that restrictions have eased. Great to see so many smiling faces and to hear that lasting friendships have been formed through our education links between Derbyshire and Kolkata.


Happy New Year from the Friends of CRS!


Thanks to funds raised through St Peter’s Derby and Derby Diocesan Schools, CRS is in the process of building a new combined school and community centre in one of their most deprived project locations, Brace Bridge.

More than 100 children between the ages of 3 and 13 currently attend classes at Brace Bridge. With children in the area frequently falling victim to exploitation, abuse and violence, projects like this are key in providing education and opportunities for the younger generation.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 09/12/2021

Two new CRS locations have been set up in collaboration with the Diocese of Calcutta.

One is in Geonkhali, in the Purba Mindapur district, which includes a child development programme and a women's empowerment programme to support the local community. (These photos are from the opening of the centre by Bishop Paritosh Canning.)

In Kulberia, in the North 24 Parganas district, a project has been launched which also includes an education programme and a women's empowerment programme to support a tribal community in the area.


Brooches Archives - Tabitha Living

Looking for a special Christmas gift that really makes a difference?

We’re delighted that the Nari Dana project, which empowers poor and disadvantaged women through skills training and self- help groups, has continued to run during the pandemic. The women have been focusing on producing masks, as well as handbags, key rings and mobile phone covers for local communities.

You can support the project by purchasing brooches made by the women from recycled fabrics at .100% of the proceeds will go towards the Nari Dana women.

Brooches Archives - Tabitha Living Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet dictum antektem por eget faucibus et urna eu maecenas loramr viverra aliquam lorem id tincidunt


Friends of CRS helps people like Ashif, who lives in the Hastings area of Kolkata with his family. His father earns a small income through his work as a painter but it is not enough to maintain a family of four.

Alongside his sister, Ashif is studying at the Hastings education centre, where he enjoys computer classes and loves to draw.

Their mother is also being supported by CRS. She is learning tailoring, a skill she hopes to someday use to support her family.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 25/11/2021

Finally, here are photographs from Topsia school's nutrition programme which was devised to support families during the pandemic. If you'd like to donate to the CRS nutrition programme, please visit

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 24/11/2021

Here are photographs of Dum Dum's nutrition programme.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 23/11/2021

Today's nutrition programme photographs come from Awami (Bibibagan) partly funded by St John’s Primary School, Belper, Derbyshire.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 22/11/2021

Each day this week, we'll be sharing photographs of the CRS nutrition programme in different locations, starting the Sukatanagar.


Introducing our sister charity: Friends of Khristiya Seva Niketan Hospital. It is a UK based organisation, raising money to support the Khristiya Seva Niketan Hospital in the Diocese of Durgapur, West Bengal. Money raised recently enabled the purchase of a machine to digitise x-rays for remote consultations and the current appeal hopes to set up an intensive care unit, initially to support during the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information or details on how to donate or purchase items from the hospital’s Amazon Wishlist, please email [email protected].

Covid-19: India school closures 'catastrophic' for poor students 02/10/2021

Covid-19: India school closures 'catastrophic' for poor students

Read more about the impact of Covid on India’s slums schools here:

Covid-19: India school closures 'catastrophic' for poor students Learning outcomes have worsened in India where schools have been shut due to Covid for more than a year.


Smartphones project update: as lockdown continues, smartphones are now being used widely in the CRS education centres to interact with parents and to support pupils. In the women’s empowerment centres, they have enabled many women to complete their sewing course.


For up to date information about the work of CRS, check out our latest newsletter!

This issue includes the latest on the COVID situation, as well as details of the new nutrition project, developments in the Nari Dana project and how our schools are now using smart phones in their teaching and learning.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 16/07/2021

Photographs of the new health clinic at St. Luke's Church, Bosekati in action.

If you're interested in donating to the fantastic work that CRS do in Kolkata, within education, health and women's projects, please check out our Just Giving page. Thank you.


The inauguration of the Community Health Center at St. Luke's Church, Bosekati, was held on 20th June 2021, led by the Bishop. The Executive Committee of the Calcutta Diocese and CRS team were present. The clinic, run for the poor communities of Bosekati by the CRS health project, is supported by the Lloyds George Foundation.



With a second strain of COVID-19 spreading across India at a worrying pace, a shortage of vaccines and an assembly election in West Bengal, please join us in prayer during these challenging times.

🇮🇳 Pray for those who have contracted the virus. May they recover to full health in Jesus’ name.
🇮🇳Pray for their families as they face worry and uncertainty over their loved one’s health.
🇮🇳Pray for health care in India as cases continue to rise.
🇮🇳Pray for a resolution to the vaccine shortage.
🇮🇳Pray for CRS as we continue to support and empower women and children during this time, with the added challenge of lockdown restrictions.

Thank you and God bless.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 23/05/2021


During the COVID-19 lockdown, women living in the slums across India have faced tougher challenges, in addition to the daily struggles they already experience. For many, the restrictions on their livelihood has seen an adverse effect on their family’s income. Praise God, these women did not give up. The hope they’ve found through the launch of the Freedom project has enabled them to look forward fearlessly.

Just a few highlights include:

🧷The Nari-Dana project has been operating for two days a week since the beginning of the pandemic. Many women are continuing to work from home when they can’t attend the production centres.
🧷The women have been busy producing masks for various big buyers including Larsen & Toubro and SASHA amongst others.
🧷Transport and food allowances have been provided to enable the women to attend centres during the lockdown period.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 23/12/2020

Children at Bibibagan and Sukantanagar received Christmas gifts thanks to the Women’s Fellowship of the CNI Wesleyan Church.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 02/12/2020

CRS centres have been equipped with masks, hand sanitizer and temperature checks for children and women of the community.

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post 02/09/2020

Photos from Friends of CRS - Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service's post

Renovation at Pally Mangal underway 03/07/2020

Thanks to very generous donations from CRS supporters Paul Stuttle and Jo Whitehead the building at Pally Mangal is being extended. Renovation commenced in March but had to stop when the coronavirus lockdown started. However, as of June, work resumed and good progress has been made on building a staircase and an upper floor.


"Sustaining Global School Links" is a new book reflecting on the partnership between schools in Derbyshire and Kolkata, written by two of the Trustees of the UK Friends of CRS. It is available from Grove Books for just £3.95.

COVID-19 and cyclone crisis: supplies reach Jharkhali 09/06/2020

Thanks to local partner organisation, Arpan Mahila Samity, CRS has provided emergency supplies to Jharkhali in the Sunderbans delta, where people are suffering the double blow of the coronavirus lockdown and the impacts of Cyclone Amphan. Meanwhile the school building is being used as a quarantine centre for people with, or suspected of having, coronavirus.


Cyclone Amphan has brought devastation to Kolkata and surrounding areas. Many people are without food and water, and some have been made homeless. This comes on top of the ongoing challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. CRS will be continuing with the planned second phase of emergency food deliveries to communities in response to the COVID-19 situation, but with added urgency in light of the new crisis. Please consider giving if you are able:

COVID-19 crisis: Topsia community receive emergency supplies 22/05/2020

Food packages were given out to 100 families in Topsia on 13 May. People queued up in the narrow lane outside the local club room to collect their parcels containing emergency supplies.

COVID-19 crisis: Distribution at Sukantanagar 22/05/2020

100 families at Sukantanagar received emergency food supplies on 30 April.

COVID-19 crisis: Distribution at B D Colony 22/05/2020

Emergency supplies were distributed to 250 families in Basanti Devi Colony on 30 April by CRS staff, members of the Diocese, and a large group of volunteers.


COVID-19 crisis: Nari Dana shifts production to face masks

The women and instructors of Nari Dana have been making good use of their time under lockdown by producing face masks.

CRS Director, Rig David, travelled to the homes of the Nari Dana team to deliver batches of cotton material. They are making masks for members of their family and local community, as well as taking orders. This is a great opportunity for Nari Dana women to maintain their livelihoods during this very difficult time.

Remember that you can also support Nari Dana by purchasing brooches made by the women from recycled fabrics. These are on sale via the Tabitha Living online boutique: 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Nari Dana women.

COVID-19 crisis: Supplies distributed at GB Lane 04/05/2020

Distribution of basic food supplies to communities affected by the national lockdown continued on 28 April at GB Lane.

COVID-19 crisis: Food distribution continues 29/04/2020

A truck was taken to Brace Bridge on Friday 24 April to deliver food supplies to the community there. And on Tuesday 28 April the CRS van was loaded with more bags that were taken to Pally Mangal and handed out to grateful people on a very rainy day.

COVID-19 crisis: Basic supplies delivered to Hastings community 24/04/2020

On Wednesday 23 April, the CRS team took basic food supplies to Hastings, a squatter settlement located under a concrete flyover. We have supported this community of extremely poor families for several years and they are among the most needy during this time of emergency lockdown when people are without income. People queued patiently for bags of essential goods. Thanks to your kind donations, more families are being helped through this crisis.

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General information

CRS is a small non-governmental organisation headquartered in Kolkata India, running education, healthcare and women's empowerment programmes that support poor and disadvantaged communities in the slums of Kolkata and rural villages in the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand. The UK-based Friends of CRS is one of the main supporter groups, spreading awareness and raising funds in the UK and beyond.

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