Empower Future Leaders from Mumbai Red-Light Areas

 
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Sep 23, 2014

Kranti Girls at the United Nations!!!

Happy Hellos at Airport
Happy Hellos at Airport

Hi Kranti Friends, 

My name is Taniya and I am one of Kranti's Revolutionaries! I just start 11th grade and I am 18. Everyone at Kranti says I am a little bit crazy, but I think I am very sweet. :) I think you know that at Kranti every girl has chance to write Global Giving reports and I am writing for last two months. I think I can give summary in one sentence if you do not want to read so much: KRANTI IS LIKE AN AIRPORT.

But I would like to share with you what is happening in Kranti because it was very exciting 2-3 months! We Krantikaris call ourselves change agents, and many people thing change is hard. But sometimes at Kranti we see real change, so we know change is hard but it is possible. I think the last few months Kranti's biggest change is all the places we went and people we met - nobody has ever met girls from red-light areas before and nobody thinks we are "normal" people who are equal. So at Kranti, because we go for many programs, we meet people from all over India and the world and they change their mind about girls like us after they meet us.

For example, me and another Revolutionary, Kavita, were so lucky to spend June and July traveling all India. We went to three programs - one in Patna (conservative north India) where we learn about women's rights, one in Himachal (mountain area with tribal people) about inner reflection, and one in Goa (nice beach with many foreigners) about religion and caste in India. At all these programs, we were the first people who were from red-light area to ever come for these trainings. Everyone said to us, "Wow we never knew kids like you are so strong and brave," some people said "Now I don't think bad about sex workers," etc. I feel very proud when people say things like this!

Also last two months were exciting because everyone was coming home from somewhere. In summer, Kranti feel a little empty, but when school is starting, everyone come back. Two Revolutionaries, Sapna (18) and Sheetal (19) went to a program in India's first alternative university. Rani and Sumaiya, both 13, went to American summer camps and they came home. Me and Sheetal had birthdays in August, and we celebrate Sheetal's birthday AT the airport! :)  

But…I kept our most exciting news for last! Actually we have two very amazing, exciting news! 

1.) Our oldest Revolutionary, Sheetal, has been selected to attend a one year drum program in America!!! She just left to America this week and she is stay 4 days in New York with Shweta before going to DC, where she will take classes at American University and Levine Music School. (If you want donate for her program, she has her own GG page.)

2.) One of the Revolutionaries, Shweta, who is studying New York will get the UN Youth Courage Award this week! We are very very excited for her! To tell the truth, do not know what the UN is. But I know Malala got the same award, and I know she is awesome. So Shweta is also awesome. :)

That is all, I hope you enjoy reading about Krantikaris and our summer. Thank you so, so much for all of your help. We are doing awesome things, but we can do because you feed and clothe us with your donations. :) 

Love,
Taniya

Teary Goodbyes at the Airport (Sheetal
Teary Goodbyes at the Airport (Sheetal's Mom)
Birthdays at the Airport
Birthdays at the Airport
Passing Time at the Airport
Passing Time at the Airport
A Birthday at Home!
A Birthday at Home!
Sheetal playing drums
Sheetal playing drums

Links:

Jul 11, 2014

I'm going to America!! :)

Sumaiya with her passport! :)
Sumaiya with her passport! :)

Hi Kranti Supporters,

I am Rani, 13, one of the youngest Revolutionaries. This is my first time to write a Global Giving report, and my English is not so great, so please read with patience. :) I want to tell you about the amazing, amazing summer we had at Kranti! I know for some countries, summer is just starting but in Asia our summer is over…because now the monsoon starts and school starts with the rain. Anyway, summer is gone, and we did just one thing alllll summer – go to summer camps!

The Kranti didis like to keep us busy. (Didi means big sister in Hindi – we call Kranti staff didis but they old enough to be aunty, not sister!) :) The didis think we will sit at home and annoy them all day, so they are always sending us to new places. In May, me and Sumaiya, the other 13-year-old Revolutionary, went to Bangalore for a water conservation camp. In this camp, we visit many slums, learn about city’s water problems and think of new ideas to save more water. Me and Sumaiya were the only kids not from Bangalore and everyone was soooo impress by us because we travel alone from Mumbai to Bangalore and then home. I was very happy too it was my first time to travel alone.

The older Revolutionaries went to other camps and trainings: two girls went to women’s rights training, two went to a Religion in India program with all international students and the oldest Revolutionary got to fly to a one week program about education for poor kids in India. I think our didis are right – we are learning just because we are traveling, meeting so many different people and going to these programs. All my school friends are having boring summer watching TV!

When we finish all these camps, we alllll went together for a camp that was run by Kranti! It was one week and it was in a very beautiful place, just under the Himalayas! (Photos below.) The camp was have 30 girls, all daughters of sex workers or from red-light areas. So for one week we learned much from each other, shared our stories, and had really fun classes. We even had secret angels or somebody secret who did nice things for us all week then on last day we find out who is our secret angel. We also had boring classes, like yoga and meditation! But it was very fun to meet so many girls with life stories and problems like mine. I hope we can see each other again.

And most exciting news I saved for last….me and Sumaiya are both going to international camps for one month!! I leave in two days and go for music and dance program in the US, and Sumaiya goes to UK for one month of English programs. Just like our water conservation camp, we were the only kids not from Bangalore, in both camps we will be the only Indians. I am soooo soooo soooo excited! But we are having many passport problems, and someone even wrote about our problems in the newspaper. So me and Sumaiya are excited that we are famous even before camp started. :)

Now you know all about Kranti’s summer! I hope your summer was good if it is done, and if it is starting I hope you have great summer. And if you have kids, please send them to fun camps and spend good time with them. I feel so lucky to have didis who do so much for us and spend so much time with us…I hope everyone is lucky to have such wonderful family. (We fight a lot too because Sumaiya steals my clothes and returns them without washing. It is a BIG problem at Kranti.) But we still have wonderful time together, laughing, traveling and fighting.

So thank you, every one of you who donates to Kranti, for making all these camps and everything else possible. I hope you will keep supporting us for many years!

Love,
Rani

Our workshop site in Himalayas
Our workshop site in Himalayas
Me and with my aunty in Himachal Pradesh
Me and with my aunty in Himachal Pradesh
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:

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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