Thursday 20 June 2019

Irish father and daughter working to give identities and addresses to people in Kolkata slums

Sarah Stack

Some of the most deprived people in the world have identities and addresses for the first time thanks to an Irish father and daughter.

Alex Pigot, partner Tina Roche and his daughter Sophie have given 2,500 dwellings – 14,000 people – in a slum in Kolkata, India, a legal address.

Their charity, Addressing the Unaddressed, aims to give half a million people in 80,000 properties in the Chetla settlement a legal identity and address – at a cost of €120,000.

It works by mapping a slum area and giving each area a geo-coordinate which is registered online, while each property gets a number plate.

“They can then get voting cards and register for things they couldn’t register for before as they didn’t have an identity,” said Ms Pigot, who works for KBC Bank.

The Dubliner had just returned from a life-changing trip volunteering with the street children of Calcutta when the Hope Charity contacted her dad, who is an expert on postcodes.

He devised the map when the charity wanted to do a census on the slum.

“Over 100 people have now registered for banking which is huge because now they get to save and can avoid things like loan sharks,” said Ms Pigot at the One Young World Summit,

“Now they get to work rather than on the black market.

“Now they feel like part of society,” she added.

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