Saturday 21 September 2019

Sile Seoige - 'I felt like I was in hell on charity trip to India'

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Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Sile Seoige has said she felt she was "in hell" during a charity trip to India.

The former Newstalk presenter visited the Howrah dump in Kolkata last month with the Hope Foundation - and was left shocked by the appalling conditions.

Thousands of men, women and orphaned children rummage through the waste on a daily basis in a bid to find scraps to sell on the street.

"Going to the dump was the worst day and probably the closest I came to having a panic attack.

"I'd never seen anything like it in my life - it completely took me by surprise," she said.

"I felt like I was trapped in a nightmare. But what I found most disturbing was how beautiful, friendly and smiley they all were.

"The dumps and the slums are all they know, it's normal for them. But for us in this part of the world, we can't get our heads around it," she said.

The Galway native, who qualified recently as a Yoga teacher, also did workshops with the children.

"It was such a privilege for us - the irony of Western women going over to India teaching yoga to Indian kids," she said.

Sile went on the trip to witness Hope's invaluable work.

It partners with 14 local Indian NGO's and funds over 60 projects for street and slum children and their families in the areas of education, healthcare, child protection and drug rehabilitation.

Set up by Cork woman Maureen Foster in 1999, Hope supports nine protection homes for 175 vulnerable girls and 82 boys.

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