Urmi and Children
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