Casabalò is located on the edge of the Pilkhana slum in the Howrah district of Calcutta.
These are the alleys that inspired Dominique Lapierre to write the book – City of Joy. Since then almost nothing has changed, as if these corners of the city, unknown to the middle and upper Indian classes, were trapped by a kind of immobility. This district is inhabited by millions of people from the countryside or from neighbouring Indian states.
Until a few years ago there were only shacks in this district; now alongside the barracks multi-storey apartment blocks have been erected, built with poor materials that do not withstand the adversities of the monsoons and that are old even before they are finished. The sewers are open-air, garbage everywhere, the alleys are dirty, water pumps are always too far away and bathrooms are simply non-existent. People live in a single very small room with the whole family: the only source of light, the door. Casabalò – the first structure opened by the association – is located in this environment and houses the Home Shelter for girls and the tailoring workshop. The “Balò English Medium School” is also nearby.