Word from the Founder Dear friends,
We are living in uncertain times and yet we in Purnata also experience the excitement and challenge that it brings. Uncertain because of what a small germ has done to bring the whole world to a stop in its tracks. Though life has begun again, I’m sure it will never be the same. Excitement, because the challenge it posed before us almost threatened to wipe out our existence. Yet we are back on our feet.
All our offices/centres practice COVID prevention and safety measures. In spite of the risk, all our brave staff have come out every day to do their work in the communities we work in. Funds are not as easy to come by in these difficult times where NGO’s in general are struggling and many corporates are filing for bankruptcy. On the other hand, the new FCRA rules have also brought a setback to most NGO’s adding administrative burden. We are no exception.
In spite of all this, we have completed a good six months through the turbulence into a new normal. We were able to provide rations during the peak of the lockdown which translated to about 1.2 million meals. A friend of Purnata graciously agreed to cover the costs for medical coverage for all staff and beneficiaries during this time. We have been able to do a couple of rescues in spite of the lockdown and now looking with much hope to the next six months. This week we are looking at a rescue of about 10 plus children involved in hazardous labour and a few minor girls from prostitution. Do continue to follow us on social media, and stand with us by partnering with us and giving us an opportunity to make a difference in this world.
Yours, ending Human Trafficking one victim at a time
Awareness and Medical Camp, Ambernath
On 20th October (Thursday) 2020, Purnata conducted an awareness program on child sexual abuse and a medical camp in Ambernath. We performed a skit to create awareness about sex trafficking followed by self-defense training. The kids laughed seeing the skit and the acting. The self-defense session, though brief, helped them know that they can use simple techniques to keep themselves safe from predators.
It was such a joy to watch the faces of the little children light up as they laughed at the skit our volunteers did (on the issues of Human Trafficking & child sex abuse); the excitement when they were taught self-defense (and how to protect themselves) and when they ate hot vegetable biriyani.
In all 12 staff/volunteers from Purnata and a medical camp team of about five helped make this happen. This was done in partnership with Mahenet Women’s Leaders Network. Nearly 50 children attended the awareness program and the medical camp catered to about 45 adults and 50 kids. The people were given proper treatment and medicines by Dr. Rana who graciously helped us organize the camp with his team.
Among this crowd of 50 plus children was a little six year old girl called *Beena. She was raped and about to be abused over a month back and we have been assigned by the government to follow up. She lives with her grandmother and no one to care for her so she ends up begging on the streets. Most of the families living in this community are either rag pickers or beggars. We are looking for a foster family or a home for this little girl and a few of the other kids here.
Partnership with the Government of Maharashtra
The Maharashtra Govt. has brought out a GR stating that women in red light areas or Commercially Sexually Exploited (CSE) women will get an amount of INR 5000 every month and INR 2500 per child apart from dry ration. We are not sure yet for how long this will go on for. The officer at the Directorate of Women & Child Department (DWCD) has asked us to gather certain information from the women and submit the same to help the Govt. process the money. In two days’ time, we have gotten the information required from 90 women, helped 32 women start new bank accounts and are helping others to obtain their Pan & Aadhar cards.
We are having a meeting today (Tuesday) we have a meeting with the DWCD to discuss this matter further and help operationalize this blessing to the women who suffered much during the COVID lockdown times.
A Shining Light – Our Sister From Bengal!
Recently, about a month back, four of our women completed their training at the center in Asalpha. We will be highlighting each one of them every week for the next four weeks. Here we want to talk about *Mala.
Her daughter has completed her 12th and has been under the care of Prerna Home in Navi Mumbai. Her son had dropped out of 9th standard, so Purnata helped him in partnership with Don Bosco Technical Institute, to not only complete his 10th std. but also complete an Electricians course. He now works as an electrician in Navi Mumbai.
When Mala came to us initially, she came in desperation and need. When her son was settled down, it helped her to settle down too. Now, after more than a year and a half, she has completed her beautician's course, and is wanting to work with Purnata in reaching out to women like herself in Kolkata. After an interview, she has now joined the Purnata team in West Bengal and works in the Red Light Areas of Kolkata, using her skills to build meaningful relationships with the women and bring hope to them. She and her son will return to Kolkata on the 1st and will join work with Purnata by the middle of the month.
At present, with the kit that Purnata has provided her, she goes into a red light area in Mumbai, along with the Aashray DIC staff, for her one month training.
She is loved by the women. She has been able to share her story with them and is making strong connections. She is in much demand for her services which has given her a sense of purpose and fulfilment in the career choice she has made. We are proud of her and look forward to her rescuing many more in Kolkata and West Bengal in the days to come.
- Neena is studying to get her driving license as she wishes to become a driver.
- Meena is helping out in the Red Light Area and providing haircuts and beauty treatments to the women.