"This past month, I spent time in Kolkata, India and I wanted to share with you some of the stories from the trip, as well as the products that these women can create. They are an inspiration and wonderful example of what we are all committed to doing together.We work with formerly trafficked women in the redlight district. The youngest are 8 years old. The going price is 100 rupees (about $2). The young ones are worth more so they are the hardest to get out — they risk violence and have to be hidden in secret shelters. One of the girls is named Mala*. She was from a rural village outside of Kolkata. Her family was extremely poor but also large. At age 12, she was forced to look for work to help feed her relatives and siblings. While she was trying to do this, she was kidnapped and trafficked into the city. Luckily, she was rescued from the brothel by our partner organization, Destiny.
In the safe house, she has been able to learn sewing. This has enabled her to make income outside of prostitution thereby limiting the likelihood that she will return to the brothel. Women like Mala, taken from their homes as children, and who have undergone unimaginable abuse and trauma, face a slow and difficult psychological recovery. They are also largely illiterate and lack any financial education. Therefore, traditional microfinance is fraught with fear and difficulty for them. They cannot calculate, or understand, interest rates and they do not trust strangers; even those who propose to lend them money. Our model, with its interest-free loans, supportive education and training, product development and market access, give women like Mala not just hope, but the tools they need to build a successful and self-sustaining business. Mala is now producing products, exporting them to the United States, and earning a living wage that is keeping her safe, healthy and happy."
Kahina Giving Beauty is proud to work with Nest and these artisans to further our mission of women helping women. For more information on Nest, please click here.