Lake Gardens Women & Children Development Centre (LGWCDC) is a non profit organisation founded in 1992 by social scientist Cecilie Sircar and her husband Late Shyamal Sircar and is registered under West Bengal Societies Registration Act 1961. The organization initially started with the objective to improve the quality of life of the girl children and women in the shanties along the railway track between Dhakuria and Lake Gardens station under jurisdiction of the municipal corporation of India.
Empowering Women Since 2001
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Cecilie Sircar, Founder
80-year old Cecilie Sircar, has been instrumental in bringing about a new meaning to the lives of several hundred young people in the Indian megapolis of Kolkata by setting up the Lake Gardens Women and Children Development Center (LGWCDC) in 1992.
The purpose: provide young women/ girls with a means of livelihood through education and training, and thus to bring dignity to their lives.
As per Cecilia Sircar, her interest in India and determination to help the people was triggered by her extensive travels in the subcontinent. Cecilia Sircar used to visit India frequently with her now deceased husband Shyamal Sircar. She travelled across the country not only as a tourist, but also as a social worker who visited the slums of Kolkata as part of a field trip while doing her diploma in social pedagogy. During these visits, she discovered that while almost all the boys went to school, only about half of the girls could make it to the school. The ratio between boys and girls amongst school-going children was heavily skewed.
This had a deep impact on her, “I knew, I had to do something about it”, says the octogenarian with a deep conviction. Her dream came true in 1994 when her family acquired an apartment on the fringes of the slum and set up a centre for schooling and coaching for girls.
The number of students increased manifold. Soon, from ten girls it went up to several hundreds of them.
Later, in 2003, with the support of other patrons, Cecilia Sircar managed to acquire a new building for the center, where she could offer more help, even in terms of setting up a crèche for children from four months of age. “In the meantime, we are offering three mother and child courses”, she said proudly.
Add to that, help with homework, coaching classes, and a series of creative activities. The program soon added courses in sewing and stitching, makeup and massage, nursing training and training to become medical assistants.
“It is always a challenge to experience the difference in the standard of living in India and Germany”, she stated. “This is what draws me to both places”, said the Erfstadter who has been living in Lechenich for many years, and who has also won the Carl-Schurz award, the highest recognition in Erfstadt, for her social commitment.
In April 2014 this unique personality from Erfstadt was honoured with the Federal Cross of Merit in Bergheimer Kreishaus.