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Made By Survivors is a program of T.E.N. Charities, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit.
Donations to T.E.N. Charities pay for rescue, shelter care, job training and employment, and education for survivors of slavery and their children.
2013 IMPACT REPORT
Click here to download our 2013 impact report where you can learn more about our programs, see photos of our programs in action and meet some of our courageous survivors, partner shelters and team members.
Made By Survivors Free Forever Campaign:
One of our most exciting projects is building a shelter for survivors in Jalpaiguri, Northeast India, in partnership with Women’s Interlink Foundation. Jalpaiguri is a remote provincial city near Darjeeling. There are very few resources there to combat trafficking, and many young girls are in urgent need of safe housing. The cost of building the first floor of the shelter (8000 sq. feet) and boundary wall is $150,000. Another $50,000 was needed to set up a vocational training program and school sponsorships as well as to rent temporary housing while the shelter is under construction. We have raised $150,000 so far towards this project, and now we need to raise another $50,000 more to fulfill our commitment and finish construction of the first floor.
Jalpaiguri is a high trafficking region near the borders of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The tea industry, which was once the main source of income in the area, has become unstable, causing severe poverty and conditions ripe for trafficking.This region has no other anti-trafficking services available, and the new center will provide a safety net for the whole region – a place where anyone who has been trafficked, or is in danger in the area can come for help.
Like all of our programs, the Jalpaiguri shelter is designed to give survivors all the tools they need to remain free forever – education, jobs, counseling, and a safe, loving home. Join us in building a home where survivors can heal and reach their enormous potential.
MEET THE SURVIVORS
The newest arrival to the shelter stands in the corner, quietly. Her eyes are huge and filled with terror. She is in a safe place, one filled with love and compassion for all she has endured – but has not yet accepted this as her reality. She is fresh from her ordeal, and all she knows is mistrust and trauma. It does not seem possible that there will ever be a world where there is safety for her. Imagining safety is dangerous, because what if she allows herself that one little moment of imagining, of letting down her guard, – and then she turns out to be wrong? All of this is apparent on the girl’s face as she watches the younger children giggle and display their sports trophies and crayon drawings. She stands apart from all of them.
Aloka Mitra, President of our partner organization, Women’s Interlink Foundation, calls the girl over and begins to speak with her. She asks the girl a question in her native language of Bangla. The girl says nothing in reply but the unshed tears come to the surface. Aloka coaxes her to speak, reassuring her she is safe. She tells the girl that we are all here to ensure that no one hurts her again.
The girl, Anika, is 17 but looks younger. It is as if her face has maintained the innocence she possessed prior to the time she was sold. She is tiny from malnutrition. Anika came from a very poor area of Dhaka, and she just wanted to help her mother. She was offered a job by a local man, an opportunity to make money to help her mother and little sister. It would require her to leave Bangladesh, but the money she could make to save her family would be worth it. This is perhaps the most common of the trafficker’s tricks: the promise of a job, and of some relief from terrible poverty. The girls who are at risk for this tactic are the most vulnerable members of our human family: too young, too poor, too compassionate, and too desperate to help their families in any way they can.
Anika was trafficked to India and imprisoned in a brothel where she endured abuse that is unimaginable to most of us. These girls are trapped in windowless, concrete cells where they are forced to service up to 20 clients per day. Escape is impossible, and refusal to cooperate is met with terrifying violence – and threats against your family back home.
But it is not the re-telling of her story that makes Anika shake with her tears. It is the kindness. It is the realization in this moment that someone is offering her a future which does not include violence, abuse and terror.
Aloka: You need to start thinking about what trade you would like to learn. These people from Made By Survivors will educate you, and help you find work that you really love to do.
Anika: Why would they –strangers in India – spend money to give a poor and worthless girl like me an education?
Aloka: Because you are a perfect and beautiful young woman, a valued member of the human race. And you have much to offer.
Anika: How can you say that when I am so ruined?
Aloka: You are not ruined. People hurt you because you were poor and they were cruel and greedy. Nothing that has happened to you is your fault. We can return you to Dhaka to be with your mother and sister if that is what you want.
At the mention of returning to Bangladesh, Anika looks panic-stricken. She then confesses that she is 5 months pregnant. Since she arrived at the shelter, she has received medical care for herself and the baby, but she cannot go back to Bangladesh pregnant or she would be ostracized. Anika says that she prefers to stay at the shelter and have the baby, give it up for adoption, and get an education.
Aloka: If you have a trade, whether you return to Bangladesh or if you remain here, you will be valuable to your community as an empowered woman who can earn money. Now, what do you think you would like to do? You can go to beautician school, or learn clerical skills, or you can enter the jewelry program. Do any of these things interest you?
Anika, just cries as the shadows returns to her face. The last person who spoke to her about having a future sold her into sexual slavery. It is almost too much to consider that this time could be different.
But this time it is different, and it is different because of YOU. Because you care enough to make a contribution to this shelter, we can expand our operations in this region of rural India where there is such a great need for shelter space. Girls who are rescued from slavery face heavy odds of being trafficked again because there is not enough shelter space to keep them safe. We can change that. We will change that. The money raised in this campaign is going directly to building the new shelter where Anika and up to 125 of her sisters will be cared for, educated and given vocational training. Thank you for caring about our sisters and daughters in India.