The Balò Association took its first steps in 2005 following a volunteer experience of its founder Elisabetta Ravaioli.
In Howrah, Elisabetta immediately saw the need to intervene directly to help some very poor families, already well below the poverty line, to avoid their total collapse with the consequent immediate worsening of the children’s living conditions.
These risks prompted Elisabetta to lay the foundations of collaboration with some Indian volunteers who could follow the projects, families and children on an ongoing basis.
All the activity was carried out under the careful supervision of Italian volunteers. As the months went by, these activities were consolidated and a small logistics base was identified in Pilkhana, Howrah, where children and families met to receive a sympathetic ear and help in the form of food and medication. For children, the emphasis is on education which is the only way to try to give them a better future. In 2006, some children’s school fees were paid for in local schools from Balò funds.
In October 2007 the voluntary association of Balò ODV was formally established.
In 2007 Balò Tailoring was founded, made up of young women who make articles and clothing whose sale helps to raise funds to help other families and children.
On 30 April 2008 the association obtained the recognition of and NGO – non-profit organization, or non-profit organization of social utility.
In the spring of 2011 Balò opened its first operational headquarters Casabalò in Pilkhana – Howrah, larger and more structured, to accommodate children during afternoon activities. This also became the location of the tailoring shop. In the same year, qualified teachers were hired to support the children in their homework.
Having a bigger structure, Balò was now in a position to open its first kindergarten in 2013 with an inhouse canteen, and in 2014 the first classes of primary schools were established. For the upper classes, children attended a nearby school fully paid with Balò funds.
At the end of 2016 Elisabetta opened the Home Shelter for girls: 8 girls between 8 and 18 years, rescued from situations which very risky for their physical and mental safety, live full-time in the house and are mothered by a qualified person who takes care of them.
In 2017, Balo English medium School opened its doors. The entire cycle of studies from kindergarten to class 10 was provided, in addition to canteen faciilites where lunch was provided to pupils and staff each day. In 2021, the course of studies was extended up to classes 11 and 12, or upper secondary school.
As of April 2022, 350 pupils were on the rolls, a vast increase on the small beginnings in 2006.
Every year, more children are enrolled in Balo school. These children will have the opportunity to study in a completely free school with fully qualified teachers in the heart of the district of Pilkhana.