Empower Future Leaders from Mumbai Red-Light Areas

 
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Mar 24, 2014

Newsletter March 2014

Kavita at Sambhaavna Institute, Himachal Pradesh.
Kavita at Sambhaavna Institute, Himachal Pradesh.

Dear Kranti supporters,

I would like to introduce myself- I am Kavita. Hosmani, the newest revolutionary of Kranti. I am 19 years old and have just finished my 12th grade. I am hoping that being part of Kranti, I will be able to study further. At the moment, I take many classes to improve my English, as well as attend Dance Movement Therapy and Theatre classes with the rest of the revolutionaries. I am going to share with you the many things that we have done in the last few months.  

To begin with, we have been having a series of classes on social justice topics such as poverty, gender, sexuality, human rights, capitalism, colonialism, religion and many more. This has given me the chance to understand the society that I live in again and also, to learn from the other revolutionaries about the issues they have faced in their lives such as discrimination and marginalization.

In January, one of our revolutionaries, Asmita Katti attended the Indian Youth Jam Training 2014 in Bangalore, where she learnt had the chance to meet with participants from all over India. She, also, listened to many change-makers about their stories, and how they are making the world a better place slowly. Even I attended a training in Himachal Pradesh to learn about community media. I am particularly fascinated by how local communities are setting up local radio stations to communicate and discuss local issues.

As part of Kranti’s work is to support LGBT rights, we took part in the pride march to protest the Supreme Court’s judgement to recriminalize homosexuality. During the march, we met with people from different NGOs and it was nice to see the LGBT community working together.

Since LGBT rights is so important to us, we discussed it in our play ‘Humans of Kamathipura’. This play was performed in many places since January such as the Goa Project 2014, Ink Women and FICCI Frames 2014. The audience loved our work and we kept having people coming and talk to us about our performance. It felt so good when people came and told us nice things about our work- it gave us confidence to continue with our theatre project.

Also, Shweta Katti, the first girl from Mumbai’s redlight area to go and study at a US university, came down to India. She gave a talk on her experiences and her life at TEDxNMIMS- we are waiting for the TEDx video to come out on Youtube so that we can share it with you.

So many things are happening in our lives and we are extremely excited. Thank you from all of us for your generosity, and we hope you will continue to support us.

 

Thank you,

Kavita.H

Krantikaries at INK Women 2014
Krantikaries at INK Women 2014
Krantikaries at The Goa Project 2014
Krantikaries at The Goa Project 2014
When Shweta Katti came to Mumbai...
When Shweta Katti came to Mumbai...

Links:

Dec 30, 2013

A Happy, Revolutionary New Year!!

Me at the Tiger
Me at the Tiger's Nest in Bhutan!

Dear Kranti Supporters,

My name is Pinky, I am 17 and I was the first Revolutionary to come to Kranti when Kranti opened. It is 3 years this month. I can't believe it!! I also can’t believe that 2013 is gone! It has been a crazy, exciting and sometimes difficult year for all of us at Kranti, but we have done many big things we are very proud and happy about. I hope it is the same for you! For 2014, all the Revolutionaries will take turns writing Global Giving reports, so I am writing for November/December. There is just one word to explain these two months. BUSY!! The three big reasons why we were busy: 1.) Bhutan 2.) Play 3.) Exams.

Most of November, we were in Bhutan. Bhutan was beautiful and it was cold. This is all I remember. We spent many days in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Because we are from Mumbai, the city looked like a small village to us, there are such few people! We visited some NGOs in Thimpu, one working for women who run away from home because their husbands beat them, one for saving tigers in India and Bhutan and one for people who have problems with drinking. Then we went trekking in the mountains for five days – it was -25C!!! We slept in tents at night. It was beautiful. But too cold. The most amazing thing we did in Bhutan was climb the Tiger’s Nest – it is a Buddhist monastery on a stone cliff, 3,000 feet high! It took us almost 3 hours to climb. Photos below!

When we came home from Bhutan, we have been sooooo busy because we are doing a play and we performed all over Mumbai. In this play, every girl tells a story connected to her life – Sumaiya plays a girl being trafficked because her mom was trafficked at nine, Sheetal plays a bar dancer because her mother danced in bars for ten years, Rani plays a girl whose principal won’t take her in school because everyone treats girls like us as if we are too “dirty” to go to normal schools, etc. We performed this play in many places, like in front of sex workers, at Mumbai’s most famous theater, and at a conference. When we were getting ready, we worked almost four hours a day for rehearsal! But we are glad we worked hard – allllll the audiences loved us! :)

And last, we are busy because we have many exams in late December. In India, final exams are in March. So in January, February and March, all children do nothing but study! At Kranti we are trying to cut some activities so we are not busy and can spend time on studying. We girls are excited that 2014 that will start slowly.

Thank you from alllll of us at Kranti for making 2013 such a wonderful year for all of us. I hope you will keep supporting us and all of our dreams in 2014. Happy New Year!!

Thank you,
Pinky 

Sightseeing in Bhutan
Sightseeing in Bhutan
Camping in tents
Camping in tents
Tired from trekking!
Tired from trekking!
Theater rehearsal
Theater rehearsal
Final rehearsal on stage!
Final rehearsal on stage!

Links:

Oct 7, 2013

We are soooo excited!!

A sponsored trip to the water park!!
A sponsored trip to the water park!!

 

Dear Kranti Friends,

In these few weeks, we have all been VERY busy at Kranti (with four birthdays!) and also at school because we have exams. It has been only one month since we started school in India. Me, Sheetal and Pinky are studying in NIOS, which is National Institute of Open Schooling. This is for students who have not been to school regularly and can give the exam after they study.

We are also busy because in this month, a big Indian TV channel, NDTV, is making a documentary on Kranti. This means for two weeks, they are following us everywhere – classes, therapy, theatre, etc. The documentary will be on YouTube soon, so I will send a link when ready! 

In a few days, on 11 October, it is International Day of the Girl Child. We recognize this day in India because girls in India face so many problems, like early marriage, no education, trafficking, etc. On the 11th, Sheetal will be giving a speech about this year’s theme, “Innovation of Education.” Just today, one Indian newspaper wrote about Kranti for Day of the Girl Child. You can read it below.

We have also been busy because we Revolutionaries have started a new program for our mothers. Every month, we bring our mothers to Kranti for two days and one night. Here, we share stories, learn from each other and enjoy our time together. Next weekend we are doing the next mothers’ weekend and we will be talking to our mothers about gender inequality. I am responsible for planning this session and I am both excited and nervous. I am putting photos from our September mothers’ program.

And, of course, we have been traveling like always. We took 3 days to travel to central India where there are a lot of water problems because of flooding from dams and also the government is stealing farmers’ land. We met thousands of farmers, learned about their problems and got to travel by boat for two days! It was a big learning experience for all of us because in Mumbai we never know how many problems the rest of India is facing, especially poor farmers.

Our most exciting news, though….for Diwali, we are going to…are you ready??? We are going to BHUTAN!!! In case you don’t know, Bhutan is a small, neighboring country of India. It has only 700K people, and the capital, Timphu, has no traffic lights!  We are excited to visit such an interesting place. It is VERY strange for all of us Revolutionaries because we grew up in Mumbai, obviously one of the biggest and busiest cities of the world. Last year, we went to Kashmir, which was also very different for us. Just like we did in Kashmir, we will be trekking in the Himalayas, meditating at monasteries and visiting some NGOs. All togheter, we will be traveling 18 days. I promise to send photos of Bhutan in my next report.

Until then, I wish you all a happy Diwali (it is the biggest holiday in India, like Christmas in the USA) and I will write after we get back from Bhutan.

Hugs and thanks to all of you,
Laxmi (And all the Revolutionaries)

Swimming with moms!
Swimming with moms!
Family dinner with moms
Family dinner with moms
Sheetal and her mom
Sheetal and her mom
Visiting landless farmers
Visiting landless farmers
Rani turns 13!
Rani turns 13!

Links:

Jul 15, 2013

Thank you for such an awesome summer break!

Me and Shweta in Rajasthan
Me and Shweta in Rajasthan

Dear Kranti Supporters,

Hi, my name is Laxmi Hosmani, I have been at Kranti for just over two years. I am the oldest Revolutionary and from now on, I will be writing updates for Global Giving. I am excited our work with you and happy that you are reading! For the past three months Kranti was on summer vacation. Here is what we have been busy with…

Do you know Shweta , Sheetal and myself we are traveling alone without our didi’s to Rajasthan for an internship?? This was Sheetal’s and my first internship. Before leaving Mumbai we were very scared, but in Kranti all my sisters gave us courage. After two days of traveling we finally reached Rajasthan. Starting two weeks we were so bored but finally we adjusted to that place, and we started to work there. We went to see a night school (balvadi) and we taught geography, we also played with them, we had lots of fun there. We also talked to the village people and we shared our story with them and they shared theirs. After 3 weeks, more interns came and we learned many things. The bhaiya’s and didi’s took us on tractors to the villages in pairs. We spent our whole night there, my topic there was livelihood, and I had to ask them what they do usually, their daily routine. In the morning we went to work in the dam. The villagers have been working on that dam for two months. They divided us into two, three groups and my group was working on mixing the cement. It was hard work!

In April we went to an internship in Himachal that was called Sambhavana, which means possibilities in Hindi. It was a very good internship.  There are many teenagers like us who came from others parts of India. That internship was about politics and environment. We had a such a good time there. There people were also kind and helpful. I saw many photos of Himachal and didn’t think it would be that beautiful, but when we arrived at Himachal it was more beautiful than the photos.  I saw many thing there like, birds and different butterflies. We jumped into the river everyday, the water was ice cold. We saw movie also. There were some construction work going on so our teacher divided us into groups and asked us to help out. We mixed cement and transported bamboo. We also made a camp fire there we sang songs. When we were singing my friend gave me a new name “google” because I knew so many songs. The program in Himachal was very different because the people we were with came from different backgrounds and had different opinions on the topics we discussed. We learned many new things.

On the 28th of June all the revolutionaries went to Thiruvanthapuram with our didi’s to visit Kanthari. Its an NGO where all blind people stay. We performed a drama but we knew that they cant see so thats why we performed like they can understand what is our message. We were  there for a few days. One day we all went to the beach,there were high waves because of the monsoon, and there was a  red flag on the beach. There was a policeman who didn’t allow us to go into the water, but we didn’t listen to the policeman  we all played in the water and Meena and Robin had such a huge fight with police. After some time we saw that there was a big crowd. we all shouted “revolutionaries came and beach is full of crowd, before there was no one.” In the water Saira and I were drowning and had to be saved. we were having such a good time in the water that we were late for dinner. Kanthari is an excellent NGO that I have ever visited. The people were so amazing and inspiring.

Thank you, Kranti supporters, for making all of these activities possible. I will be writing you again soon next month!

All the interns in Himachal at Sambhaavnaa
All the interns in Himachal at Sambhaavnaa
Revolutionaries on the beach in Trivandrum!
Revolutionaries on the beach in Trivandrum!

Links:

May 9, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to all...esp. sex workers!

Pinky and Mom
Pinky and Mom

Dear Kranti Supporters,

I haven’t posted an update for a while because I am in a rural internship right now. But I’m writing to you to share some very important information – I have been accepted to Bard College in New York, I have my passport, and I am going to the USA in August to chase my dreams!

None of this would be possible without the most important person in my life – my mother. She was the one listened to me and was always by my side. When I was a child, I told my dad about going to America and studying there - my dad made fun of me. But my mother told me I could do it and that I had the ability to do it. She's the one who believed in me. She encouraged me to do different things like going to dance class and learn English. My dad was always angry about me going out or going to dance classes. He never allowed me to do these things. But my mother did everything she could possibly do to keep me safe, especially when people called me an “ugly dark girl.” My dad even told me that “nobody is going to marry you because you are ugly and dark; your heart is as dark as your skin colour.” I felt really bad that day and was crying but my mum was there to support me. She was the one that told me I was beautiful.

She always helped me make big decisions, and staying away from my family was my first big decision. She said “Shweta, I believe in you; whatever you'll decide, I know that it's for your own good. Don't worry, just do whatever you think is right.” In the second biggest decision of my life, taking a gap year, she wasn't convinced – she thought I was wasting a year – but she didn't prevent me from doing it. And now I'm going to be away from home for four years and she's still encouraging me and inspiring me. I have the best mother in the world!

Here is a video of me and my mother on the local news!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf-VrJQlTcU

 

Thoughts from other Revolutionaries: 

Sheetal: My mum is everything for me. It's because of her I'm here – at Kranti, in the world. She always loves me a lot. In my sorrows, in my joys, in my successes, she's always there for me. If my mum is not there, there is nothing in my life. My mum is the only person who can understand me. Nobody in the world can understand us better than our mums, and even if my mum doesn't agree with my decisions, she still supports me. Here is a video of me talking about my mother!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppbCCu16Fho

Laxmi: In Hindi ma is just one character, but its meaning is immeasurable. I can't explain it. The word has no end. My mum is really loving. She has had a lot of problems and troubles in her life, but she still taught me the best ethics possible. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful mother!

Pinky: I miss my mother a lot because she lives in Kolkata, I see her for just a couple hours every six months. I try to remember happy memories of when I lived with her and I hope we will have a good future together some day. Here is a picture of me and my mother!

 So – Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who make sacrifices so their children can have a better future than they had. :)

Sincerely,
Shweta

Links:

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Organization

Kranti

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
http://www.kranti-india.org

Project Leader

Robin Chaurasiya

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower Future Leaders from Mumbai Red-Light Areas