lördag 20 december 2014

Delivery of Chistmas gifts at shelter

Driver Raju
Thanks to a bunch of good altruistic people (friends, family and Indpro) the girls in Vidyaranya's shelter home could now have a warm night's sleep, amongst other things. With the help of Inpro's driver. Raju (not only the car but his muscles as well) the gifts could be delivered in due time for Christmas. 

Thanks to all donations we were able to buy the following items: 

20 large towels
50 single bed sheets

50 blankets
156 under wears
51 tooth brushes (odd no due to packages of three)
7 toothpaste
10 shampoo bottles
40 kg flour
10 kg rice
10 kg lentils
20 bags with indian mixed snacks
10 pkg of biscuits
8 pkg of sanitary pads

20 ltr oil 
2 shower cream bars
2 skin ointment (medication against fungal infection)

Most of the items were bought on the request of shelter staff. However, medication against yeast infection was bought on my initiative as there seems to be a zero tolerance and stigma on talking about sexual (and related) diseases. As such, I wanted the girls to open up more and dare to talk about genital problems, and if necessary, ask for help and treatment. As mentioned by one former victim (which now is a staff member)
'the girls had been asking about blankets the previous night but we did not have enough blankets, now we have ...'

It was with tears in our eyes we hugged each other. Unfortunately I had to leave the girls this day in a bit of hurry. I can not wait to meet them again in the new year, which I hope will bring some joy and some good development opportunities for the shelter.  

Thank you kindly all of you who contributed and donated- and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Indpro, SCCI and Scania ...

Now I really wanted to start my work! The first thing that I had on my list, in my quest to support the sex trafficked victims, was to start contact the swedish corporate world in Bangalore. I figured that the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI) or Busineess Sweden could possibly and hopefully function as some type of facilitators. As it turned out, both SCCI, Indpro[1] and Scania, at the moment, seem to be interested. As mentioned by the CEO of SCCI, Sara Larsson, it would be good if the swedish corporates could come together as to build a platform and cooperate where it is possible and utilize CSR in areas where it is really needed, such as on gender issues, including sex work and trafficking.

Indpro was the first swedish company to openly express their support. CSR-responsible person at Scania, Lisen Thulin, asked for a site visit next year. So, we are holding our fingers crossed. I also called my contact up at the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) in Bangalore and we agreed to meet soon. DWCD will take part of my findings from the research that I undertook. Hopefully my research, and other research reports, can show the needs and gaps as experienced in field, and possibly present a way forward to respond to the rights of the victims.

The private sector can play an invaluable role in fighting human (sex) trafficking, and show their support to victims. The private sector can for example employ people (trainee spots etc.), raise awareness about trafficking to and through their employers, sponsor events, donate money and equipment. Indpro seem to be in the forefront to support victims of sex trafficking, but hopefully others will soon follow their good example - and they too openly express their support!

[1]. Indpro is a swedish company that focus on 'blended sourcing' for companies seeking support in IT. Indpro provide experienced consultants and project managers within a variety of services, such as system development, mobile applications, construction and design in CAD and BIM, amongst other. For more info go to: http://www.indpro.se

fredag 5 december 2014

Back in Bangalore ready to start with CSR!

Streets of Bangalore, Karnataka
After a couple of months in Sweden (during the best and hottest summer for a long time) I finally came back to Bangalore, ready to initiate long awaited activities in the area of support to victims of sex trafficking. I contacted the NGO Vidyaranya (that is running a 'Ujjawala shelter' for sex trafficked victims) and the Director D. Bhaskhar seemed happy to hear from me, however a bit surprised... I am quite sure he thought that I had forgot about them. This I definitely had not. After a meeting at the NGOs head office and after I told them about my plans, that I wanted to try to incorporate swedish companies in an effort to try to support sex trafficked victims, I made a site visit to the girls in the shelter home. I also made a visit to the NGOs other site projects and shelters. I was amazed to see their good work, and how they could have such a good spirit and hope, in such a devastating society that India actually is, at times. 

However, what truly hit me was the fact that things was more or less the same. Nothing seemed to have improved (not even the fact that both NGOs and the government is easily disclosing and publishing these intended safe houses' location). Sure, I had not been gone a very long time, but still. Despite the fact that I have seen a lot of poverty and misery, mostly in african countries, the site visits now seemed to present a worse picture. I can't really explain why. It just seemed to be so many people in, what I would say, misery. So much dirt, and sometimes such a bad smell, and when you see people living like that ... Gosh, I really realized how lucky I was! 

At the Ujjawala shelter, one girl (16 years old) told me about how she was deceived by an older lady that promised her a job. She took her on a bus to Delhi and sold her to a brothel for 25000 INR (about 3000 SEK). The girl was then abused and sold as a sex slave a couple of times a day. The girl has lost her life in a way, her family do want her back, but only after she can be of any use to the family financially, so she does not become yet another burden. 

During the evening, when I came home I threw myself at my baby girl, realizing her lucky she is, and how lucky 'we' all are.  It seems as though  the lucky never realizes how lucky the are until it is too late, and people in jobs seems to busy building their careers that hey never have any time to reflect on what is important in life. Well, who am I to say, maybe I am one of them, if not for my academic endeavors perhaps ... 

As such, I decided to start with a fundraising online for Christmas so that the girls in the shelter can feel some joy and hope again.