United Brothers' Association
The United Brothers' Association (UBA) is a private, secular, grass roots organization operating in the slums of Calcutta. In 1983, Mohamed Kamruddin, a young homeopathic doctor living in the slum of Pilkhana, began both a clinic and a school to serve the local people. Five years later, aware that the needs of the community were still unmet, Kamuruddin approached Dominique Lapierre for aid. Since then, the UBA has been almost entirely supported by Lapierre.
The United Brothers' Association's main achievements and activities consist of:
- The construction of a village named "The Dominique Lapierre City of Joy Village" to house 50 underprivileged tribal families. The village includes 2 community halls.
- Three homeopathic and allopathic medical clinics. Located in the slums of Tikiapara, Bankra, and Bokultala, these three centers have thus far treated more than 100,000 patients. These centers also educate women about family planning.
|Lapierre has created a special center in Bankra, a slum of Calcutta, to train and educate young women in becoming self-supporting. Here, these girls receive the gift of a sewing machine, which they will use to make the clothing they will later sell in the bazaar.
- Sixteen kindergarten crèches in various slums, where an average of 750 children between the ages of 3 and 5 receive both primary tutoring and a nutritious breakfast.
- Four primary schools, in Bengali and Urdu, for some 340 children. These schools are 50% supported by teachers. Recently, the UBA opened a junior high school at Pachimpara.
- Four vocational training centers in the slums of Bankra, Tulsiberia, and Bakultala where almost 300 women (most often young widows or the daughters of poor divorcées) can receive a year of non-formal education along with training in sewing, knitting, and other useful crafts. Their works are sold in Howrah and Calcutta markets.
- Projects to encourage self-employment, including the donation of sewing machines and an education program teaching fish farming techniques to villagers.
- Three educational libraries at Tikiapara, Bankra, and Pilkhana where the Talibia Memorial School educates 370 students.
- Four marriage social welfare programs that lend poor families the utensils, tents, decorations necessary for their celebrations. Funds earned from the modest rental fees are put toward other UBA initiatives.
- Slums and rural development. In the slum of Bankra, 47 tube wells, 145 latrines, and a community-wide drainage system have been installed. At Tulsiberia: 6 tube wells, 55 latrines. At Bakultala: 1 tube well and one access road.
- Various other social programs include the yearly distribution of 200 scholarships to students, 200 school uniforms for needy children, and clothing for 150 senior citizens. UBA also assists poor families with medical, burial and marriage expenses.
- A home for the children of prostitutes and a home for the elderly.
- A home for handicapped children and a physical therapy/orthopedic disability training center.