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Strong Women All Around…

05.02.2010 in Uncategorized

Hello Everyone

We are preparing for a busy weekend.  We have a field trip to some public gardens a couple hours outside of Kolkata tomorrow with some children from a red light district shelter.  And when we are finished with that, we’ll be taking an overnight train trip to Darjeeling for some sight seeing and fresh air (please!).  So I wanted to blog a bit about the past few days before we head out.

 

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Auntie, Auntie…sweeeet!

05.02.2010 in Uncategorized

I only have a few minutes before we go to a different shelter, so i can’t do the last two days justice. i thought, instead, that i would jot down a few notes

-i have spent the last three days at a women’s interlink foundation shelter which houses about 100 girls and sends about 50 of them to school, with the rest learning a trade and the younger ones just being young (4,5,6)

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With Love from Kolkata!!!!

04.02.2010 in Uncategorized

Hello from Kolkata!!  We have been working at the shelters now for four days and it has been such an incredible experience.  Three of the days I have worked at Womens Interlink International, about an hour and a half outside of the city.  There are about 100 girls currently living at the shelter.  The girls are surviviors of trafficking, orphaned because of AIDS or taken in because they were at high risk of being trafficked.  There was one little girl who was rescued right before being auctioned off, her pr

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Finding a Voice for all Women

04.02.2010 in Uncategorized
Tuesday at one of the Made by Survivors production centers we had a wonderful discussion with the young women about the rights of women around the world. We shared our own experiences as women with them and learned more about how they perceived women in the U.S. We also got to hear about some of the ongoing struggles they experience as women while working towards becoming more independent. They expressed that it is difficult for women in India to find a safe place for their voice while honoring their families, cultures and religions. It is sometimes hard to imagine the violence that occurrs against women around the world, including in the U.S., but we all agreed, there exists a world without this violence and slavery, we just have not gotten there yet. Everyone proposed ideas on how to combat violence against women, and in my opinion, ALL of them are possible. Educate girls and women, Teach girls about the biology of their bodies, Promote sexual health education for all, Give access to better (and more) health care for all. And, to all the Men out there: Join the movement, Speak out against violence against women, Show your children (boys and girls) how to respect and love women, Teach your daughters that they deserve to be treated well, and Give them as best an education as you can.
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Three days of pure love

04.02.2010 in Uncategorized

I have just completed three days in a row of "service" at a Women’s Interlink Shelter outside of Calcutta, and it was such a beautiful experience.  I was never prepared to be greated at the gates each day by 60+ little girls yelling, "Auntie, Auntie", or the buffet style lunch fit for an Indian king each afternoon, or the infinite amount of hugs and hand holding that takes place, just because I am me.  Nobody too special, really, just a middle aged mom of two from Cape Cod that likes to read.  Nothing more or nothing less.

 

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“AUNTIE…YOU…ARE…LOVE”

03.02.2010 in Uncategorized

Greetings from Kolkata!

There has been no greater feeling on this trip than being greeted by sixty perfect and beautiful girls and young women as we enter their home.  A couple hours outside of Kolkata is the Women’s Interlink Foundation shelter that provides full time care and housing for almost 100 survivors of sex trafficking and orphans of sex slavery victims.  Four days in a row, we pull into the shelter to a round of applause and squealing girls chanting "Auntie!  Auntie!".  We are met with bear hugs, huge smiles, and whole lot of girls battling to hold hands with their "aunties".

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Words can’t do it justice

03.02.2010 in Uncategorized

I can’t possible recap the last 3 days in a single blog entry.  I’ve met inspiring people doing challenging, life changing work.  The social enterprises I’ve been able to visit and experience firsthand are making a profound impact in the lives of hundreds of women who have made it out of the sex industry, forging ahead in a new life for themselves and often their kids as well. 

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Sunny Sunderbans fight Trafficking

02.02.2010 in Uncategorized

This summer, Smarita and I had the privilege of coming to know a small NGO working in the Sunderbans, called Gosaba Anwesha. The Sunderbans is a mangrove forest, mostly island district, in southeast West Bengal. Many of the islands border Bangladesh, and because it is such a porous geography it is easy for traffickers to bring women from Bangladesh into India. Also, many young women are trafficked from the Sunderbans into Kolkata or another big city, because their homeland is extremely poor. Most people there rely on the rice patty crop, which only yields one crop per year.

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Dirt…and the best shower ever.

02.02.2010 in Uncategorized

With technical difficulties solved, here is my first blog entry.

What has troubled me the most about Calcutta, is the dirt and pollution.  Though I have never witnessed poverty (and population) of this magnitude, reading books, watching documentaries and being reminded  (more than once) by Paul and Sarah, I felt somewhat prepared for the shanty style huts and tents, emaciated animals, and some very sad, solemn faces.

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