Dear Friends of New Light,
First of all, I want to wholeheartedly thank you for your contribution to New Light. What does it take to raise a child to thrive in the most disadvantaged position in life? The goal is to support the potential of young people to grow and prosper in the most impoverished communities in West Bengal.
The Children of Kalighat live on the streets while their sex worker mothers entertain clients. Malnutrition and disease are rampant among the children, and pubescent daughters are forced into the sex trade, thus perpetuating sex work from generation to generation. Kolkata has emerged both as a transit point and a destination for many young victims of trafficking often from Nepal and Bangladesh and rural West Bengal. The importance of a residential program is to cluster services to rescue and rehabilitate women and children who have been victims of trafficking to offer hope from the abuse.
The answer is complex but most effectively comes straight from the hearts of the New Light staff and leadership. New Light provides safe and secure shelter with a caring environment, good nutrition, and medical care. They provide psychological care to overcome the experience of abuse and victimization, and vocational and skill training to provide viable and sustainable livelihood options. New Light believes that there is no better place to start than to provide the children of the red light district with a first-class education. The children are enrolled in over 15 schools and another 12 colleges.
The success rate can be observed as you walk through the many shelters and programs where children are engaged and happy. The sweetest times are when the graduates come back to help during holidays. They don't forget that their fate was one of despair until New Light.
There is no doubt that your donation means so much. We all rejoice every time a donation comes in and your generosity is celebrated.
Dear Supporter of New Light,
It is every child's right to grow up in a world that is safe and secure. It is reported that 50% of all children in India are abused physically, and too often sexually. Surprisingly, 54% of those abused are boys. Organizations like New Light have been working to wake people up to this disturbing fact and to act to provide the next generation with a better future.
At New Light, located in a red-light district in Kolkata, the need for safe shelters could not be more urgent. In the lanes of the redlight district, children are left totally unattended or left with indifferent adult supervision.
This was the motivation for the beloved founder of New Light to create a program that began with an evening creche/shelter for 8 children fourteen years ago. The program has evolved into a 24/7 program for more than 200 children daily. The shelter offers comprehensive care and support to children ranging from a few months old to 17 years.
In neighboring areas, children use New Light as a drop-in center where they can rest, play, read or acquire computer skills. During the day the shelter is abuzz with the continuous stream of children who attend the local schools and come to shake off the stress of their day and just be children. For many of the kids whose mothers don't have any permanent residence, the shelter is the only place they can call their own and rest their heads.
Kindness is one of the most powerful and positive tools for creating a more happy and healthy society. The benefits of kindness for children go even deeper. Experts have determined that practicing kindness changes the brain and provides physical and mental health benefits that can have lasting positive effects. This is why it’s essential for children to learn kindness at a young age for their future.
Your kindness matters.
First of all, I want to thank you for your donation in the past. Some of you have decided to make a donation monthly which really helps keep some consistency in support. We never overlook the fact that it's caring people who keep New Light thriving.
New Light is a loving home operating from the terrace of a temple deep inside the red-light district of Kalighat, Kolkata. The project started as a night shelter and provides the children of sex workers a safe haven, particularly in the evening hours when the streets are the most dangerous and the mothers are working.
Initiated by caring for 9 children in the year 2000, the programs of New Light today serve more than 250 children of various age groups. New Light is not only a shelter from harm, but they also provide services that include education, healthcare, nutritional support, recreational facility, HIV/AIDS care, income generation opportunities for the women/mothers, and residential care for many of the young children from the community who would be on the street making a living. Legal aid and advocacy against gender-based violence are other thrust areas of New Light`s operation.“20 years, 6000 children, 10,000 women, 1.5million meals, immeasurable impact.”
COVID brought new challenges for New Light and during that time they rose to the challenge and opened a small clinic that continues to serve the community.
With all New Light does, times are tough and they are constantly expanding to help more children. If you have it in your heart to donate this month, your funds will go a long way in multiplying benefits.
Thank you for the support that you have provided to New Light. The precious children at New Light are filled with possibilities from the nurturing they get. Your support matters.
While this may not be relevant, what occurred to me after seeing a play about Alexander Hamilton, an American revolutionary stateman, and Founding Father of the United States that although he was born in poverty to an unmarried woman and was orphaned in the West Indes as a child, this brilliant young person sought education and was was able to beat all odds.
To beat all odds in India may prove a harder road since the stigma of being a Dalit (lowest caste) or a child of a prostitute often carries a life sentence. New Light proves that their fate is not set in stone and that they have all the opportunity to be whoever they want to become with hard work and intention.
The role of New Light is to give children born in a red-light district an expansive and well-rouded childhood. This last month the younger children took part in Art in the Park, a series of outdoor art activities designed by DAG ( Delhi Art Gallery ) that encourages children to explore nature through imagination and creative expression. It was a delightful day for the children to be out in the park after spending months and months indoors during the pandemic. The older girls took part in the Calcutta Club Bakery Festival/Spring Fest where the girls added rainbow colors to the event with their brilliant dance performance. With activities like these, the children can realize that they too have worth. You as a supporter let them know that kindness and love abound in the world regardless.
Happy International Children's Day!
In India, the celebration of International Children’s Day was started after the death of India's first prime Minister Jawaharial Nehru. Nehru believed that children are the future of the country and the foundation of society. Therefore, the well-being of every child is all of our responsibility.
The photos attached are of the children of New Light's children's night shelter and Starfish, the day care center. For International Children's Day they had a particularly wonderful feast that celebrates their sweet innocence and their potential. The children of the Kalighat red light district were born into unthinkable situations and have witnessed abuse and exploitation. They are now given the benefits and opportunities that other children have to be educated and to live a life free of violence and fear.
New Light is one of those places that is filled with love and laughter. The love and care is palpable. In many areas around the world, every day is children's day but here the children are often reminded of how precious they are and that they can be and do anything they aspire to do.
Thank you for being an important person in their lives. New Light is always appreciative of donations since its one step forward no matter how small.
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