A Date with Destiny...
Posted on 20 October 2014
Traveling has a way of opening you to magic that you may otherwise pass by. Today was a pure experience of such. Before getting into the details of today a little backdrop to set the stage...
Calcutta (Kolkata) was the first place I felt "uncomfortable" since I've traveled in India. Since my first night here with the late night shady hotel exit I really couldn't wait to get on my way. For some reason thought, I didn't leave. Through my mind chatter I could feel a message wanting to surface but wasn't really allowing the time or space for it to come through. Until yesterday.
Volunteering has been apart of my life for while, but its been awhile since I did some serious, full heart volunteer action. I started searching the world wide web to see what exisited in Calcutta, knowing the state of this city, I knew there would be plenty to discover:/ I came across a few that really stuck out to me, I emailed all three and ended up spending the day with the women of Destiny Foundation and understood why I was still here in Calcutta.
Destiny Foundation works in alliance with many other NGO's and foundations to help rescue girls from sex trafficking here in Calcutta. "The sex trade is a thriving business in Kolkata, India. The same is true of the human trafficking industry. The trafficking of women into forced prostitution often follows a certain pattern. Girls, as young as six years old, are either knowingly sold by relatives, sent into the city for the promise of ‘a better life, a job and/or an education’, or are kidnapped from their homes. The traffickers then sell their victims to brothels of red light districts in large Asian cities and sometimes abroad. The girls and women who end up in Kolkata’s brothels are typically from the neighboring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh as well as remote northeastern Indian villages. Of those who are fortunate enough to escape or be rescued, many end up in shelter homes. Essentially, shelter homes are long-term safe houses for girls. They are secure facilities that protect them from harm or re-trafficking as well as educate, equip and nurture them. There are two common reasons why it is often necessary to place rescued girls in shelter homes. For one, they may not be welcomed back to their family’s home as their victimization would ‘shame’ the family. Or secondly, they are at high risk of being re-trafficked if they are left unprotected or sent back to their families. While at the shelter homes, they can study a vocational trade which will enable them to seek employment. This is the key to allowing the survivors to be economically self-sufficient and live independently."
I met Smarita and Sanjay, sister and brother duo who are currently running this incredible organizatio along with some very special coordinators and counselors. Destiny Foundation has a sister program called, Reflections. Reflections is a product based system where the girls learn basic sewing and business skills and are able to create products to sell locally, as well as abroad. From the beginning, with training, the girls receive a stipe-end and from there the incentive is always increasing. For poeple like you and me, this may seem basic and logical but for a woman who has been taken from the life she knows, lied to and sold by her by her own family, raped, abused, drugged, this is everything. Destiny Foundation, along with many other wonderful organizations here in India are providing a means to which these women can have a second chance at life. Where they can excel at a craft, regain their self confidence, regain there sense of importance in the world. And they do this within a safe and supported community.
Moments after Smarita and I started talking, something clicked, and we both knew a special relationship was beginning. Reflections was looking to source Organic cotton and use eco-friendly dyes for their block printing, and I would do anything to help support these women. I've had a pair of baby harem pants I've wanted to make so it was a no brainer, I would have the girls sew them for me! After we had tea and laughed at my terrible pronunciation of pretty much all of their names, we got to making a pattern and by days end, a half decent sample!!!
(For the safety and protection of the girls, I will not be taking any photos of their faces or sharing their names.)
This covered the majority of the day, but the universe had more instore for me, when I finally met Husnband and Wife owners of an ayurvedically dyed, Organic Cotton Clothing company, Rwitvasta, for dinner. But more of that tomorrow:)
Aloha and blessings for this day<3
For more info, please visit www.DestinyReflection.org