The Background

Familia was established in 1977. From the very beginning Familia had a policy to save homeless and abandoned children and raise them in a family environment with foster parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties. Familia was an effort to provide the nearest alternative to a natural family to homeless and unwanted children, who for various reasons would miss out on normal adoption.

Familia, therefore, was an experiment in child-care based on a particular philosophy. The approach was seen at the time as revolutionary, even utopian, because ordinary orphanages did not offer to children the total care they needed in order to be raised in a more conducive environment. It was daring as it was quite out of step with the Indian culture.
So it all started in August 1977 in a remote village, Shikarpur, on the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal. The first foster family started with a married couple, Pushpa and Mohini Mohan Bhar, as foster parents and three little children, one girl and two boys, and a dog. Their home was a dilapidated, unused house with a tiny piece of land for a kitchen garden and play ground for the kids.

In 1980, Familia established itself on a large farm in Bhaluka village, 55km north of Kolkata (Calcutta). Since then, nearly 200 children, both boys and girls, have lived in the foster families. For every one of them, Familia was a new birth, a new beginning without which many would have been lost.