As I write this blog I am in my final week of this internship and getting prepared to make my way back home.
I am reflecting on the future of the girls that I have been working with over the past half year.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a girl who is in school to become a police officer. I am also thinking about a very dedicated young woman who wants to go to school for nursing and another who aspires to be an air hostess or flight attendant as we call it. Another one dreams of marrying a good man and becoming a loving mother herself…some dream of becoming cooks, tailors and taking care of families performing domestic work. One energetic girl envisions opening an aftercare home for girls rescued from trafficking as a way of helping others from her own experiences.
The focus in this aftercare home is always school first. The importance of educating these young women to teach them about patience and long term goals and that they have value and worth will keep them and others from being victimized. When formal education is not possible there has to be an alternative so that these individuals do not fall victims again. That is where partnerships come in. Currently there are about five girls who go to these partnering organizations daily to not only work but also learn how to work with others, gain valuable work ethic and budgeting and to learn english and communicate with staff about things they are dealing with. These organizations employ exploited young women and girls to empower them to have better options, to help them grow, to prevent them from being lured back into the brothels or instances of child labor due to poverty and lack of knowledge and education.
‘Kushi’ means “happy” and is the name of one of these organizations where they up-cycle old saris to create new items such as purses and bags. SariBari creates beautiful quilts among other items. Love Calcutta Arts sells journals, books, paper products such as cards. Touch Nature employs Nepalese girls who have been trafficked into the brothels of Kolkata and creates soaps, candles and essential oils from ingredients from Nepal. The girls return from work each day smelling wonderful! Please check out theirs and other websites below and help these incredible organizations that assist in the visions of these beautiful girls ultimately to achieve the future they dream of. If you know of someone who is coming to Kolkata ask them to visit one or more of these organizations and bring back some of these hand made treasures for you or order online if that is possible.