Hope Within The Mango Trees - Podcast

Future Hope has decided to tell its own story, through the words of students, staff and founders!

Ready for you to listen to right now, the podcast “Hope Within The Mango Trees” is the complete story of Future Hope; from humble beginnings back in the 1980s through to the thriving present day of bright futures and lives transformed!

You can listen to episodes 1,2 and 3 now. Subscribe now using the links below, depending on your favourite podcast platform:

This groundbreaking documentary is first-hand evidence of the poverty cycle being broken.  As CEO Sujata Sen remarks; “it’s super extraordinary!”  

The full eight-part series features more than 30 voices, including teachers and students, with the compelling story set to a totally unique audio soundtrack, reflecting the sounds of Kolkata and originally composed music. 
This astonishing story is told from the streets of one of the great cities of the world and, at the centre, sit hundreds of extraordinary children. Kids who arrive with nothing, often severely malnourished, but who, invariably, leave with bright futures; lives transformed. We are delighted that one of our alumni, Nikhat Khatun, is your guide on this remarkable journey! Providing first-hand evidence of the transformational work of Future Hope, Nikhat has moved from life on the streets, through ten years at Future Hope School, to graduation, to full-time employment, to her debut as an international broadcaster!
We really hope you enjoy it and share the series far and wide to all your friends and family!   And, if you like it, please consider leaving a rating and review on your favourite podcast platform. This really helps get the series discovered by people who haven’t necessarily gone looking for it!    
The spring of 2024 will find “Hope Within the Mango Trees!”
For part one of the series, immersed in the sounds of Kolkata, say hello to Nikhat Khatun, your guide on this remarkable journey! Providing first-hand evidence of the transformational work of Future Hope, Nikhat has moved from life on the streets, through ten years at the school, to graduation, to full-time employment, to her debut as an international broadcaster! What a story!
Children arrive at Future Hope with nothing. No home, often no family. Malnourished, often abused. But in the centre of the city lies sanctuary, and this podcast dives deep into the transformational work of the school; through education, healthcare and sport. Nikhat introduces us to other main characters in this amazing adventure including the man who started Future Hope in 1987, Tim Grandage, and CEO Sujata Sen who leads the organisation towards bright horizons. As they continue to expand, how pressing is the need for relocation? Can Future Hope fulfil its dream? Plus, there's one significant other to meet. What's her role in this unfolding story? Future Hope puts the street and slum children of Kolkata at the heart of everything. No child should be left behind. And so we head onto the streets, late at night, to hear, first hand, how lives can be transformed and how respected Future Hope is among the many different communities of the city. The story starts to unfold..

Future Hope is an expanding school with a growing reputation for excellence. That comes as no surprise when you hear Head Girl, Isha. Her powerful testimony illustrates perfectly how vital Future Hope’s work continues to be. After she speaks passionately on the role of women in India today, it’s symbolic that the return visit to Sealdah Station reveals a surprise twist.
How different things would have been had Tim Grandage failed to navigate choppy waters in the Future Hope early years! As we turn the clock right back, we discover how close they came to closure; evicted twice, once at a moment’s notice just before Christmas. And wait until the phone rings in the middle of the night... This took courage, dedication… and some unexpected help...
Smiles, studies and a chance meeting is what you will hear about in episode 3 of Hope Within the Mango Trees. Evicted twice and threatened with closure in the late 1990s, Future Hope needed some good fortune. They would find it around a street corner in central Kolkata… an emotional reunion awaits.
And so we arrive at Rowland Road, the school’s current home. In the polluted city centre, walking through the gates comes as “a whiff of fresh air”, according to Principal Meenu Patodia! We’re introduced to many of her staff as we tour the school campus, discovering how hundreds of children are squeezed into every corner. They have built on the roof; and built again on top of that. This expanding organisation has outgrown its home; the only solution is to move. But can they achieve the dream?
Trading city centre chaos for countryside calm. For the first time, we’ve escaped the frenetic city centre of Kolkata and, in this episode, find ourselves immersed in the beautiful West Bengal countryside. Accompanied by a tranquil soundscape, we move closer to life in Rajarhat; about an hour away from Rowland Road. For Future Hope, this is indeed the future! More in a moment...
Before that, we pick up the story of the family from Sealdah Station. Future Hope can't offer direct school places any more, it is 100% compliant in all its operations, but the outreach work provides an important reminder of the 36 years of positive, life-changing activity on the streets and stations by founder Tim Grandage. In Episode Four, more key characters emerge to embellish the wider Future Hope story; meet Mark Lewis and Samarjit Guha! Sam supervises the Sealdah family, as they trade station-platform for a school tour. There’s some tough love; sometimes, no bad thing. And so to beautiful Rajarhat. It's where the school wants to shape the next stage of its remarkable life and, in turn, create opportunities for thousands more children. The plans look amazing! We tour the new site with Tim and Erica and hear how sustainability drives the project strategy. As we're leaving; a surprise meeting... Caring is in Tim’s DNA, as we’re discovering, but, as Mark confides, nothing lasts forever….
“It’s fantabulous!” exclaims Dr Sarkar in the medical room at Future Hope, a tiny space off the main assembly hall. He’s talking about the dedication of Erica Grandage, a trained nurse and one of the first Future Hope volunteers, whose work has completely transformed the medical provision at school over three decades. Erica's story, as we're discovering, is remarkable in itself. This episode begins with an atmospheric description of her first impressions of Kolkata. When she describes the early conditions she encountered, and the state of some of the children she treated, the scale of Future Hope's progress is evident… We’re introduced to Viraf, the medical administrator. Is that a crack of emotion, as he talks about his life having purpose and satisfaction?
It's the same with Dr Sarkar, another of the unsung heroes of the Future Hope operation. Yes, this is a school, yes, this is a children's home, but make no mistake; this is a mini-hospital with a track record of saving lives. All the more importance, therefore, that Future Hope moves to Rajarhat to give these incredible healthcare professionals the space and facilities they need to keep up their groundbreaking work. In another twist to the series, we're introduced to a new character who, thus far, has lurked in the shadows. While suggesting it was just Erica and Tim in the early days, perhaps that wasn’t the case? Was it a duo, or actually a trio?!The mystery man appears. What’s his story?!