Educate and Shelter Children in Red Light District

by Village Volunteers
Urmi Basu celebrating with the boys
Urmi Basu celebrating with the boys

Dear Donor,

On November 14th we had a big celebration at New Light, India! The children at Khelaghar, New Lights new boys home, celebrated Children's Day and proudly celebrated Khelaghar’s 2nd birthday. The children sang and danced to celebrate the day. 

New Light in Kolkata completed two years in its effort to provide young boys of women who are in prostitution the opportunity to grow up in a safe and secure environment and realize their full potential. The Home provides safe shelter, formal and remedial education, counselling, comprehensive healthcare, nutritious meals, therapeutic, creative and recreational opportunities to the male children, aged between 4 to 18 years of prostitution workers. These services are imperative to ensure their physical safety, and provide them the opportunity to realize their full human potential. Boys growing up the influence of men being pimps, drug dealers and who witness abuse of women are very receptive to the love and care provided to them. This above all is a way to break the chain of sex work and abuse. 

We would like to thank all of our supporters, donors, and volunteers who believed in our common goal and aim to assist  as many children and young adults as possible into the mainstream by providing formal education; job oriented training and different vocational activities so that they can choose a life with dignity. 

On Giving Tuesday, November 29th, please consider New Light to help us educate and shelter vulnerable children for a 50% match or subscribe to a montly donation to be matched 200%. 

Thank you,



 Dear Donor,

Thank you for your support in the past. With all of the NGOs to support, we are honored that you chose New Light.

Why is New Light so extraordinary? In a word, Urmi Basu. Urmi set up a small NGO in 2000 with very little seed money. She called the program New Light because it was a new day and it brough light into the lives of those who lived with abuse and without hope for the future. 

Today, New Light is a comprehensive community development project that provides shelter, education, health care, nutritional support, HIV care and the opportunity to live a life free of abuse, violence and stigma to more than two hundred children of sex workers and more than two thousand women  in the Kalighat red light district. Urmi was featured in the documentary Half the Sky based on the novel by New York Times columnist Nicollas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. Urmi lives in  Kolkata, India and fights for social justice for the marginalized community of sex workers / women in prostitution and survivors of trafficking every day of her life.

All of this activity puts huge strain on fundraising but the success stores are nothing short of little miracles for the children who are studying and are no longer caught up in the cycle of intergenerational prostitution and desparation. For the most part, the community does’t consider that children born in those areas deserve equal opportunities, so Urmi is their champion to provide education and guidance in career building.  

The strain on Urmi is something I've witnessed as her friend and partner and yet her passion for justice is for all of us who witness her work, stunning heroism. 

Please join me in supporting this wonderful program. We are hoping that even a small monthly subscription will add up to give Urmi the support she so desparately needs to create a world of opportunity to so many precious women and children. 

Thank you!


Urmi and Children
Urmi and Children
Dear Donor,
Educating and sheltering children is a difficult subject matter and yet these stories need to be told to understand how your support to New Light has helped.
The Story of One Young Woman
Lata was eight years old when her family came to India from Bangladesh in search of a better life away from extreme rural poverty. A few years later her father passed away suddenly for want of medical care, Lata's mother was left alone to raise three children with almost no support from anywhere.  She started a small roadside stall selling tea while trying to keep her children at school. Life got harder for young Lata as her mother remarried and the children had to deal with an abusive step father. The siblings stopped attending school regularly as they had to supplement family income helping their mother either at the shop or attending to the chores of family living. With increasing resentment both the sisters began to look for an escape.
During this time they came to know of a woman in the neighbourhood who often went away to Kolkata for work. One day the woman approached them and offered to take them to the big city for work. Little did they know about the woman's true intention or their impeding future.
Before they could realise what was happening the woman sold both Lata and her elder sister to a woman trafficker who in turn sold them to a trafficker in Bihar. The girls were bested, abused and threatened with dire consequences if they did not comply to the command of the trafficker. They had to dress up as grown women and dance at gathering lewd men who threw money at them and asked for sexual favours. Their dream of living an independent life away from domestic violence and abuse turned to a nightmare of everyday suffering and sexual violence. ( Lata is a survivor of multiple rape as a young girl). During this time Lata was regularly injected with growth hormone so that her breasts would develop faster. 
After a few months the traffickers had a falling out among themselves and the woman were brought to Kolkata, to Kalighat red light district, specifically to resell the girls. Once in Kalighat the woman trafficker was certain that she had already broken the will of the girls and they would not escape.
Fortunately while  in Kalighat, they came to hear about New Light and were also told by some other women to seek refuge there. Initially, Lata was hesitant to do that as she thought it was just another place where her suffering would increase. However after a few weeks of watching her sister having a safe life, she came and asked to be enrolled at New Light. It was during the same period that Soma Memorial girls home was set up. Both Lata and her sister were subsequently reconnected with their mother but continued to stay and be educated at Soma Home. Twelve years her sister is employed at a nice restaurant and Lata is studying at the International Institute of Hotel Management in Kolkata pursuing  her training in hospitality management.
Lata is a woman of exceptional courage and resilience whose greatest quality is empathy and kindness. Having surmounted extreme conditions, both physical and emotional, Lata has shown what is possible to achieve for an individual through diligence and fortitude. 
Note : New Light needs $1,500 annually to support Lata through her education for the next two years. All donations support girls like Lata who given a chance, are able to break free from slavory with the help of New Light. 
Please continue to help us break the chain of sexual slavry.  
Thank you for your support. 
Urmi Basu and Shana Greene
Opening of new boys home
Opening of new boys home

Dear friends of New Light,

In order to explain how donations are being used, we feel it important to reiterate the history and current work at New Light. New light is is a registered public charitable trust operating from the terrace of a temple deep inside the red-light district of Kalighat, Kolkata that offers comprehensive community development services. 

The shelter project provides the children of sex workers a safe haven,particularly in the evening hours when 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 serves more than 250 children of various age groups.

The services offered by New Light includes education, healthcare, nutritional support, recreational facility, HIV/AIDS care, income generation opportunities for the women and residential care for many of the young children from the community. Legal aid and advocacy against gender based violence are other thrust areas of New Light`s operation.  

Over the years New Light has set up multiple facilities to cater to the needs of children and young adults at risk. New Light Shelter for children not only from the red light district but from the Dalit community with the children of municipal crematorium and sanitation workers who have traditionally been treated as untouchables. All of these children live in equally precarious circumstances, exposed to violence and subjected to discrimination and sociial stigman. In New Light, the children receive support to continue formal education, remideial education, nutrition and healthcare. 

The residentail facility, the Soma Memorial Girls Home is located un the southern fringe of the city to protect adolescent girls at rish. Thrity-seven girls from 6-18 years reside and are cared for by dedicated staff recruited within the community. There is a boys home set up in 2014 with the same dedication to boys who were vulnerable in the influences of the red light district. Outstanding performances in school and in the arts is normal for children from challenging backgrounds who are given a chance their parents didn't have in life. There is also an adult home for students taking their education to the next level. 

Last but not least is Operation Starfish. They meet the growing demands to strenghten care for toddlers who needs are laregly neglected. The preschool follows traditional as well as Montessori system of teaching and accommodates around 50 children up to five years of age to stimulate and nuture. 

Explaining the important work of New Light is our way of saying thank you and to demonstrate the ongoing need to break the chain of oppression by providing children a way forward.  

Thank you,

Shana Greene

Urmi Basu Founder and Director
Urmi Basu Founder and Director


meditation at New Light
meditation at New Light

Dear Donor,

It is every child’s right to grow up in a world that’s safe and nurturing in every aspect, a right that is often snatched away at an early age. In Kolkata’s red light district in Kalighat, where New Light is based, the needs of children of sex workers are largely neglected. And for New Light, the needs in Kalighat are urgent. Since its inception, New Light has championed programs that extend safety, shelter and education for the most vulnerable children on the streets of Kolkata.

New Light’s child shelter programs provides comprehensive welfare to children of women in prostitution.  They work with the mothers to assist them to strengthen support for their infants and children whose needs are often neglected. The Jhinuk shelter, for example, doubles as a Montessori preschool in the morning hours in keeping with the shelter’s aim of preparing the children for mainstream schools when the time is right.

What is equally important is that several of New Light’s shelters address the health needs of these children through nutritious, meals, regular health check-ups and vaccinations.

In 2012, the compelling Half the Sky movement awarded funds to New Light to start another shelter, Operation Starfish, that provides safe shelter, preschool, health, nutrition and loving care for vulnerable children between the ages of 3-6 years. 

Your help is always so appreciated. If you could also tell friends and family about New Light, we would be very grateful

Best regards,


Opening of the boys home!
Opening of the boys home!
Alley in the red light district
Alley in the red light district
Girls at safe home. Education and a chance at life
Girls at safe home. Education and a chance at life



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Organization Information

Village Volunteers

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Shana greene
Seattle, Washington United States
$4,383 raised of $20,000 goal
96 donations
$15,617 to go
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