Stories Of Change
Gayatri was 12 years old when she was trafficked to Delhi. She was rescued after a few months. When Gayatri was missing, the family contacted GGBK an organisation reputed to work on anti-human trafficking in South 24 Parganas. Gayatri’s return was seen as a threat to her traffickers, who conspired with the local police to make threats to her family to get off the case against the traffickers. Gayatri got help from GGBK but owing to a weak police case, the traffickers were acquitted. Her family wanted to get Gayatri married off when she came back. But Gayatri was determined to resume her education. Her family feared that their daughter would face stigma in school and it would be
shameful for the family. Hence getting Gayatri married off away from her native village was the only solution. Gayatri was adamant and together with GGBK, was able to convince her family to get her readmitted in school. She enrolled in class 7 in 2015. Gayatri and her family needed money to continue the education. GGBK gave her a small grant of Rs. 25,000 to open a shop with her mother. The profit from the shop is not much but it is sufficient for Gayatri for buying stationaries and paying for her tuitions. Prior to opening the shop, GGBK trained Gayatri and her mother in details of managing a shop, basic accounting and keeping accounting books. Today Gayatri is studying in class 11. She wants to become a Lawyer and fight cases on behalf of victims of trafficking. She never thought that she could reach this far and fulfill her dream of higher education. It was the entrepreneurship opportunity given by GGBK and subsequent mentorship by GGBK team that made supported Gayatri in realizing her dream. Besides studying, Gayatri is a Bandhan Mukti Leader and gives peer support to other survivors who have come back home. She is also helping their families for securing rightful entitlements, services and documents from Government stakeholders.
Anu belonged to a poor family in the Sundarbans delta region. This is an area is affected by the climate change and disaster. The yearly floods affected the livelihoods and income opportunities of many families, Anu’s being one of them. Her father was jobless and sent to Andaman for a job. Anu was studying and she wanted to be a famous dancer. In spite of their poverty, she was admitted to a dance school. She was only 12 years old when one day she went to a grocery shop and did not return home. Somnath Mondal nicknamed Reddi, her dance teacher took her to Kolkata on a false pretext of a show and then Delhi, where Anu was sold in a brothel. After 15 days Somnath made a call to Anu’s parents and told that they were at Delhi and that they were well and together.
Anu was rescued together with the Police and GGBK. 32 After her return she was traumatized and did not want to continue her study. GGBK provided counselling support to her, referred her to a professional psychiatrist. The team for GGBK remained regularly in contact with Her and her family. They helped to address any stigma received from the neighbours and community members. Anu wanted to get back to her schooling but the discouraging atmosphere at school and bullying/name-calling from the students forbid her from attending classes. GGBK help awareness sessions in the schools and talked to the school authorities. Slowly, the school environment became conducive for Anu to continue her schooling. Today, Anu has passed her Secondary Board examination and wants to continue her study. Anu belongs to a poor family and her father’s monthly income is below two thousand rupees. She frequents experiences stress regarding her financial situation and the affect it may have on her education. GGBK is currently trying to raise funds so that Anu’s dreams of pursuing higher education is fulfilled.
Rama was married with two daughters and lived in Basanti block. She was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband who shortly left Rama and her two daughters to get married again. Rama was left with no savings, no income and two daughters one of whom was at her adolescent age. They had barely anything to eat and survived by eating rice starch and snails/mussels from the river. They barely had enough clothes or necessary items like medicines during illness. The neighbours would often help them by giving food. Rama constantly worried about her elder daughter falling prey at the hands of traffickers, who are always on the lookout for such vulnerable and poor families. Rama got to know from the villagers about GGBK and visited the office to seek help. After knowing her plight, GGBK supported her with clothes and medicines and encouraged her to undergo training on alternative livelihoods.