Made by Survivors | Uncategorized


Durga Puja

27.10.2008 in Uncategorized

October 6, 2008

Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Kolkata, with hundreds of thousands of people flocking from all over India to participate in the festivities. Durga in Sanskrit means "she who is incomprehensible or difficult to reach." During this 6-day period, it is believe Durga leaves her husband’s residence to visit her father, Himalaya’s, home with her children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik. Durga Puja is also a festivity of Good, Ma Durga, winning over Evil, Maheshasoora the demon (see photo of this demon squashed under Durga’s feet). Therefore it is a quite ceremonious triumph of the power of Good over Evil.

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Empowerment for Survivors of Human Trafficking and Slavery

23.10.2008 in Uncategorized

The Emancipation Network fights slavery by empowering survivors and people at high risk to rebuild their lives.  We help individuals and communities become slavery-proof with jobs, job training, education, aftercare and reintegration.  We sell beautiful products Made By Survivors at our web store, and use the profits to provide help, home and hope to others rescued from slavery.    You can help us, and make a real difference in the lives of trafficking survivors by hosting an Awareness Party in your home or community. 

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New meaning to “outsourcing”

30.09.2008 in Uncategorized

September 30, 2008

With the holidays coming up, we are currently working on tree, star and butterfly ornaments. The women at Destiny have stitched and stuffed the figures, and now they have begun to decorate them with beads. In order to speed up the process, and also to give job opportunities to more women, we decided to outsource some of the decoration work to the shelter homes. Today, one of our highly-skilled women, Puja, accompanied me to a government shelter home, where she used to live. She walked in with such confidence, introducing me to the staff members who used to look after her. But now, she was able to boast of her new job, her new skill, her new life.

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Stolen childhood

28.09.2008 in Uncategorized

September 24, 2008

Whenever I go to the shelter homes, there are usually new girls, recently rescued. Today, there was a group of very young girls, huddled in the corner. Because they are from a small hilltribe, many of them do not speak the common languages here, but rather their own tribal language. So it has been a challange for the counselors to communicate with them.  It’s truly shocking how anyone could find these girls sexually appealing.

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Bishwakarma Puja

27.09.2008 in Uncategorized

September 17, 2008

Today marked the beginning of Kolkata’s puja season. Puja means worship, or ceremony, for the Hindus and today is Bishwakarma Puja. Bishwakarma is the Hindu god who created the earth, including humans and animals. He is today the patron of workers, machinery, and factories (relating to his role as the creator). So all factories close today to celebrate the god. Our girls pleaded with us to hold a puja, and we called a Brahmin priest to perform the religious ceremony.

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Cooking Up Some Justice

13.09.2008 in Uncategorized

September 10, 2008

Over the past few months, I have eaten some of the most delicious meals on earth. Each region of India has a different cuisine, priding themselves on their special aromatic ingredients and preparation techniques. One day, while at All Bengal Women Union, I noticed a room full of freshly ground spices. Apparently, they have a spice grinder on site and employ three survivors to produce tumeric, garam masala, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. But, they have no market for their hard work. The only consumers are the shelter home itself, which leaves piles of spice packets in their stock room.

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Pay Day!

13.09.2008 in Uncategorized

August 27, 2008

Today was very exciting for everyone at Destiny – it was our first PAY DAY. The women sat in a circle, patiently waiting for me to calculate their earnings. We’ve decided that the most fair way to pay them is a combination of fixed stipend and piecemeal rate for production. That way, they explained, they are motivated to work hard each month.

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Thomas Clayton Center

16.08.2008 in Uncategorized

The Clayton family made a generous donation to build the Thomas Clayton Center in Calcutta, India. After learning about the issue of human trafficking and slavery, the Claytons have been extremely supportive of TEN’s efforts to provide economic opportunities to survivors. The Thomas Clayton Center is a safe haven for women who are reintegrating into mainstream society after their rescue and rehabilitation by NGOs.

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Beautifully Made, Slave Made

13.08.2008 in Uncategorized

Yesterday my friend Benjamin and I went to Varanasi, a well-known city in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is famous for the Ganges River, revered as holy by Hindus, and there are over 50 temples along the river edge. Two of them are “burning ghats” where specially trained Hindus prepare dead bodies for proper burning, and then spread the deceased’s ashes into the Ganges.

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