From the emergency relief work in 1971 - providing service to the thousands of refugees from Bangladesh who crossed over the border to come to Calcutta, to the current wide variety of relief, service and development work in Kolkata's slums - CRS has come a long way since its inception.
The Beginnings ...
Cathedral Relief Service was established in 1971 in the aftermath of the Bangladesh war, to undertake emergency relief measures among refugees who came to Calcutta in thousands. Several existing slums had become residences for the refugees from Bangladesh and many new colonies had come into existence in different parts of the city. 

Kolkata added thousands of people to itís population without having a chance to create the necessary infrastructure required. On December 11, 1971, CRS became the first relief agency to cross into Bangladesh and receive the news of the liberation of Dacca. 

The reconstruction work including rebuilding homes, providing agricultural infrastructure, water supply sources, schools and medical aid, started in December 1971 and was completed by the end of 1972.

A New Approach ...
It was at the end of this tremendous effort and contribution in Bangladesh, that our founder, the late Rev Canon Subir Biswas felt the need to divert his attention to the slums of Calcutta and the millions who lived there under conditions of abject poverty. 

The services offered included distribution of food and clothing among the people on a daily basis, providing mobile medical units for the slums and initiating schools as well as craft classes for children and adults.

CRS Today...
In 1974, CRS was registered under the West Bengal Societies Act, and has over the years moved from itís role as a relief and charitable organization to one of the leading development agencies in West Bengal. At CRS we believe that development that is not people centered is not sustainable and therefore CRS goes to the people to learn from them, enable and empower base communities to plan, implement, manage, monitor and evaluate their programmes. 

Over the last 28 years CRS has touched the lives of over 2,50,000 people living in 16 slums in Calcutta. But numbers are only one part of the story, the measure of achievement also lies hidden in the stories of all those people who believed that their actions could make a difference and therefore contributed in the manner they saw best... their time, skills or money, and by simply believing in the mission of CRS and passing on the message to their friends.


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