Nishtha (Asha Wide Link)
Story of conquering the world by two girls
The Night Shelter at Baruipur red light area in Puratan Bazar was earlier run with support from other donor agencies. After running for three years the shelter was closed due to dearth of funds. Later, with the help of Abhyuday (Asha Atlanta/Athens Volunteer) Nishtha received financial support from Asha for Education and the centre was reopened. Today it is nearly ten years that Night Shelter is providing shelters and all help to the boarders, most unfortunate children of the society. Alo Nayik and Akansha Barik are among those who are staying in the Night shelter since the first year, i.e. they are here nearly for the last ten years. They are very close friend of each other. This year, both Akansha and Alo have passed the Class XII (Higher Secondary level) and have taken admission in College. Akansha has taken Bengali as her Honours subject and Alo has taken Philosophy as her Honours Subject. This has been the first time that two girls of Baruipur red light area have passed the Class XII standard and taken admission in College. NISHTHA has never thought or imagined that one day one of these girls of night shelter, daughter of a sex worker will someday complete her schooling and go to college. It is like a 'dream come true' to NISHTHA.
Generally 100% girl children of red light areas do not go out and adopt the profession of their mothers. This is mainly because, the outside society do not accept them in the so called civilized society, the girls being from a red light area the outside world is terrifying to the girls of red light areas, and their own society forces them to become sex workers. Very rare we can hear one girl of sex worker live a normal life.
NISHTHA had admitted Alo and Akansha to a primary school, and after completing Class V standard NISHTHA had sent them to a Government run Home at Hooghly district where they studied from Class VI and completed Class XII. Whenever they used to come to Baruipur during summer or Puja vacations or occasional holidays, they used to stay at the Night Shelter. Owing to the environment there it was not possible for them to stay with their mother. Moreover they could not stay in the near by areas too because every moment in the locality is full of risks and danger, as any moment they would be molested or even kidnapped and gang raped. During the day time Alo goes to see her mother for some time and returns back to the Night Shelter. But Akansha is so unlucky that she cannot even go to her mother as she is always completely drunk round the clock, thus she cannot have a gossip with her mother. Now as they are now in Baruipur, they stay in Night Shelter. They say that Night Shelter is their home. Two young daughters of sex workers, staying in a red light area, but not engaged in that profession is simply unbelievable and unimaginable. There is no law and order in this red light area. Twenty four hours people are engaged in consuming liquors and different types of drugs, openly prices of girls are bargained as we see in an animal market. A person with money in his pocket can do anything with a girl and within moment the life of that girl is finished. Nobody comes to a girls rescue as every body is engaged in 'enjoyment'.
Despite best efforts from the mothers, the girls themselves, and NISHTHA, we have doubt as to whether these girls will succeed in their battle of life. The main enemy of the girls is our society. Because if any of their classmates' comes to know that they are from a red light area, it will not be possible for anybody to save these girls. A disaster will land in their life and If not physically tortured, they will be so insulted and humiliated that they will have to leave college and move towards an uncertain future.
Story of Dolly
Pinki Chowdhury stays in a remote village far away and far south of Lakshmikantapur. She gave birth to one child when she was 15 years old. Every day her husband used to come home completely drunk and beat her, and often she had to stay without food. One day she was driven out of their house with her child, and she took shelter in a neighbor's house. Staying nearly four days without food, she came to town in search of a job / work. She took a small hut in a slum and worked as a maid servant in the area and somehow managed her family with occasional starvation. Then a man came to her and told that he shall get her a good job and brought her to the red light area and sold her there. Then after working in different red light areas, she ultimately came to Baruipur red light area.
After a few months of arriving at Baruipur, she gave birth to her second child. Then only NISHTHA had just again started working the Night Shelter with support from Asha for Education. As the eldest daughter was growing up fast, in order to provide safety, Pinki sent her two daughters to the Night Shelter. NISHTHA agreed to take care of all her children but laid a condition that Pinki will not send her daughters to any other place under any circumstances. Because sending daughters to some other place in the name of job/marriage and forcing them in the same profession is very common in the red light area. Without any hesitation, Pinki had agreed to the condition immediately. Still today, they are here in Night Shelter.
Dolly, the eldest daughter of Pinki is very sweet and has a very charming face. She is studying in a very reputed and renowned school of Baruipur where girls form well to do family study. Now she is thirteen years old and studying in Class VI. As she is pretty and sweet, the environment and the surroundings are much more dangerous for her. Thus, to provide protection to her from the eyes of the devils is even more tough and hard.
Her mother has a dream and aspiration that Dolly will become educated one day, she will stand on her own feet and become self-dependant and keep herself away from the life of her mother. This dream and aspiration of Pinki is encouraging NISHTHA and giving confidence in its endeavour. Dolly's home is the Night Shelter; she does everything here and goes to see her mother on her way to school. On her back from school she goes to her mother again and returns back to the Night Shelter. From here she goes to a tutor who has been arranged to help her in a few subjects and helps to her next days study. From there comes back to the Night Shelter. Her younger sister stays and studies in the Night Shelter.
Dolly is very intelligent, attentive and joyful. She is very happy and not anxious about anything as she has a very secured home, her own home, the night shelter. She is also nourishing a dream similar to her mother to become self reliant one day. She is not only soft spoken, she possesses a charming personality and polite while behaving with others. This character is absolutely uncommon in this area, because generally the children of the red light areas are very rude in behavior and uses slang languages and use abusive words. Her attitude and behavior is developing and getting polished as she is growing up. NISHTHA has experiences of having a number of complaints from the school authorities regarding other students admitted there, but for few years the school raised even a single complaint against her.
Had there been no Night Shelter, where would have Dolly gone, who would have provided her security, who would have taught her the alphabets and slowly brought her up as own child and got her admitted in a mainstream High School, who would have taught her proper manner and etiquette and helped to grow her hygiene habits, who would have given her to nourish a dream, which is a right of every child.
It is the Night Shelter that is bringing up many Dollys from darkness of hell to the enlightenment for the first time in Baruipur red light area.
Cast Study 3:
Alo is a pretty little and very sweet one. She is good in studies and very good in dance and singing and very interested in cultural activities. She is very spontaneous and full of life. Her mother, Riya is a sex worker and stays in a red light area in Kolkata. Alo stays with her grandmother who was also a sex worker and had given up working due to old age.
Alo is good in studies and very calm and quiet. She is intelligent and loves to dream of one day helping and bringing her mother out of all her sufferings. Seeing her attitude and humble and adjustable nature, Riya thought something strong should be done so that she can live a different life and not like her’s. She talked to Nishtha and expressed her desire about her daughter. Nishtha fully supported her and told her that this is what Nishtha’s objective is and Nishtha too look for a day when these girl children will become educated and stand on their own feet. Nishtha fully supported her and promised all help and support to this effect. Riya decided to take her away from this area and do everything so that one day she becomes a part of the society and live with dignity.
With Nishtha’s support and help, Riya contacted a hostel at Ramnagar village which is run for the children of sex workers only. After formalities, Alo went there in the hostel in October 2012 and started staying there. She was very happy there.
After nearly one month, little change in Alo’s attitude and behaviour was noticed. Initially the reason could not be revealed but later it was noticed that she is unhappy there and she despite having very good adaptability, is failing to adjust with the environment there. On discussing with her, Riya came to know that all the boarders there being children of sex workers, their attitude, behaviour, use of abusive languages and words, etc. has put her demoralized and Alo is puzzled and horrified. The atmosphere here is totally different from that of where she had spent last few years. Lastly Alo desperately told her mother to take her away from the hostel. Riya got frightened and apprehending further worsening of mental condition decided to withdraw her from there. Riya brought Alo to Nishtha run shelter and kept her there again. Riya went back to her work place at Kolkata. In December she and Nishtha social workers talked to a boarding hostel at Kolkata and finalized putting Alo there. Later in late December 2012, Riya came to Nishtha and took Alo there and put her there.
Case Study 4:
Nishtha workers have seen and observed that it is a general practice that though the existing law allows the daughters to have equal share of their parent’s properties with their brothers, there has been almost only very few incidences in the rural areas where a women is receiving her share of her father’s properties. There has been one and tragically the outcome had been more painful for her.
Ruhina is the mother of Akansha, a child who was a member of the Night shelter and is one of the seven children who left the shelter in 2012. Ruhina was doing her business in the red light areas of Baruipur. She has two daughters, the elder one, Akansha was in Nishtha’s shelter and the younger one – only a few months old, was with her.
Ruhina had brothers and sisters at her native village and they did not keep any relation with her after she was forced to adopt the profession of a sex worker. After her father died, her brothers and sisters decided to sell / share his properties as his legal heirs. Accordingly they did the same and gave Ruhina her share in cash as being a sex worker; she will not be able to settle in the native village again. She has got quite some money and she is very happy.
The system in the brothels is controlled by ‘Babu’ and ‘Mashi’. Each of the sex workers has a babu who safe guards her from tortures by gangsters and antisocial, collects clients for her, etc. and in turn he decides and controls the finance and money she earns. Similarly, Ruhina too had a Babu. After Ruhina got the share of her father’s property in cash, her Babu took the money from her and said that he will be with her and she do not have to worry for the money or her future. Soon after, the Babu left her for ever leaving behind Ruhina in complete dark. Anti socials and gangsters started coming to her room and spending nights after nights with her without paying any money. She ran out of money. She did not even have money to buy food. She fell sick and became terribly ill losing weight and physical balance. One day Akansha went to her mother in the morning and never returned. Later Nishtha came to know that Ruhina has left the area with her two kids to the Kolkata brothel for secured income.
More information: http://www.ashanet.org/workanhour/2011/projects/nishtha.html
Trinita (Asha Wide Link)
The story of Hena
Hena is a 16 year old girl from the Tiljala slum of Kolkata. She lives with her parents, two sisters and two brothers in a small room tenement. Her father is a daily laborer with an average income of Rs 60-80/day(~1-1.5 Dollars). Her mother is a domestic servant. Hena used to come to Trinita's after school program since she was 6 years old. When Hena was in Class VII, one of Trinita's teachers from the Tiljala coaching center, found out that she had dropped out of school due to her difficult family circumstances making it hard for her to study and maintain her grades. The teacher contacted Hena's parents and the school readmitted her into class VII. Hena is now in Class X. In addition to the support provided to her from Asha's after school program, she earns money by domestic work to meet her other educational expenses. Through her experience with Trinita, Hena has also taken the responsibility of admitting her younger siblings in school.
For the first time, five girls from the slums have made it to Class 12 from Trinita through Asha's Support-a Child program.
Gram Vikas Trust (Asha Wide Link)
Case Study 1:
A BICYCLE CHANGE LIFE OF RENUKA
Name- Renuka Laxmanbhai VasavaStd. : 8th
Village : AdolSchool : Tankaria Village
Renuka is 13th , a tribal girl belonged to and extremely poor backward village of Adol, Block Bharuch, Dist.Bharuch.Her Father Laxmanbhai Vasava working ad Labour used to get very poor income with which anyhow he had been managing the house hold expenses of his 6 member family.
Apart of this they also had been anyhow managing bear the Renuka's educational expenses but the problem for Renuka was the long distance of her school from her home which was about 5 Kms.up and Down. Amazingly the girl daily used to cover this long distance daily on her foot which just showed her great dedication towards her studies In really Renuka's father had not been in position to afford and purchase a bicycle for her so that she could go to her school with comfort and of course on time. Perhaps it must had been a mountain breaking task for Renuka to cover daily 5kms. on foot. When GVT fortunately came to know about the poor girl through our sources we provide her a new bicycle under Bicycle Support Prog. for School Going Girls.
With this support Renuka is attending her school regularly and punctually also. This Bicycle give Confidence to Renuka for Higher Studies.
Case Study 2:
A Bicycle Give Sunita Knowledge & Confidence
Name- Sunita Sureshbhai VasavaStd. : 8th
Village : AdolSchool : Tankaria Village
Sunita is the oldest sister within her eight member’s family. She applied to the program after Gram Vikas Trust informed the school she is attending that the Trust would have provided bicycles to girls who found it hard to go to school. She says, “her life has improved for the better: being able to get to school faster avoids any time wasting and gives her the chance to concentrate even more on her studies.” Her grades have improved considerably since she entered the program and, although she is just in the 7th grade, she has already started to think about her future, considering the option of enrolling into university and pursuing an engineering degree. Her family is very satisfied too. Without Gram Vikas Trust’s donation they would not have been able to provide such means to Fatima. She used to spend one hour walking from home to school and then back again. Her father, who is a farmer and occasionally works in industry on daily wages, thinks that the program has had a positive effect on his daughter and that in general it is a good program. Her mother, a housewife, while worried for the safety of Fatima and requiring her to cycle safely, views positively the fact that her daughter spends less time in going to school and can finally use this time to focus on the studies. The younger sisters of Fatima, although she is too young for a bicycle now, are considering the idea of applying to Gram Vikas Trust’s program in the future.
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