The first 5-O project commenced in Calcutta in May 1983, with the establishment of a training centre on fifteen acres of land in Thakurpukur donated by the Bengal Bratachari Society. It is still known as Project 5-O Calcutta rather than Project 5-O India. Initial expenses were met by a grant from the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund for University Women, Inc.
The Centre provides an integrated programme of training in welfare and income-generating activities for women from Thakurpukur and other villages around Calcutta. After taking craft courses in tailoring and weaving, embroidery and knitting, tie and dye, many of these women are earning income from the sales of their products in the local market; with products such as blouses, saris, petticoats and pyjamas, table-linen and towels.
Courses are also given in printing of wrapping paper as well as beautician skills, which is a popular profession and easily ensures the students a job in this business.
Other subjects taught are literacy, health, nutrition, environmental hygiene, childcare and family planning. Children who come to the Centre with their mothers are catered for in a pre-primary school (a balwadi). The Centre also runs a mobile library, holds general educational seminars, and provides food supplements for children suffering from malnutrition. A medical-cum-personnel van has been acquired to extend medical help to village women, particularly in provision of immunisation programmes.