måndag 21 december 2015

Christmas Donations

The Gift of Giving - Merry Christmas 

On the 21st of December I headed out to the girls in the shelter, to deliver christmas donations that I was able to buy thanks to many caring people back home and here in Bangalore. We did it last year, and thankfully we could do it again this year. It is truly a gift and blessing to be able to help others in need. Thanks to all donations hair oil, sanitary pads, shampoo, dosa phava and some other pots, inner wear, sweaters and some other clothes, toys, combs, chocolate and biscuits could be delivered. So far, during December, approximately 50 000 INR has been raised.

Funds will also be used for material for vocational training, so that the girls can become self sustainable and live a dignified life. The IT-company Indpro also told us today that they want to commit with monthly support. This we are very grateful for! Unfortunately I had a huge problem with transportation, so I had to rush in and delivered the gifts, otherwise the driver did not want to take me back, and I had a midnight plane to catch. I will see the girls in early January, then we can spend some more time together. I always like to hear how the are, and if they need anything special.

Thank you kindly all of you who donated, the girls in the shelter really care that others care about them! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! Hopefully the new year will bring more happiness to less fortunate people - we can all try and do our best to help along the road!

lördag 19 december 2015

Run & Shop for a Cause

Run for a Cause and Christmas market 

Me & Rakesh
On Sunday the 13th of December I ran my first half Marathon, actually I ran for a cause, for victims of sex trafficking. I was a bit nervous since I've never run this long distance before, but my friend Rakesh was also there. It was really fun to attend and complete the race, and at the same time awareness was raised about the victims of sex trafficking.

Santa hands out gifts
Later, the same afternoon, I made it back to our apartment complex to sit in a stall during our Christmas market in PB. I shared a stall with Danish/ Canadian friends and together we sold "ris à la malta" and Danish cookies. I also brought some of the girls from the shelter to the market so that they could do some income generating activities. So next to our stall three girls from the NGO sat, and they sold handcrafted items. This was not only a form of income generating activities for the girls, but also awareness raising. During this event participant could also donate towards charity. 

Vidyaranya stall
Our stall

onsdag 9 december 2015

Clothes party to benefit victims of sex trafficking

Fashion clothes designer Deepa, with the brand Encrustd, supports victims of sex trafficking in a astonishing way 

Deepa, me and Deepa (from Encrustd)

Me and Daniella
in DnR collection
In "Diamonds and Rust" we all came together. Yesterday, 9th of December, there was a home party in my flat. The very generous and kindhearted business woman Deepa Chikarmane, with the brand Encrustd, displayed and sold clothes from her new collection called Diamond and Rust. Not only did Deepa want to sell her clothes,  and do brand marketing, Deepa's commitments stretches far beyond this. She doesn't only focus on being a successful business woman, she is doing it with a CSR-focus, to benefit victims of sex trafficking. 

To build and sustain brands that people really like, one must focus, not only on today but on tomorrow as well. To short term with long term goals is not easy, however, it is the key deliver sustainable, profitable growth. A growth that is good for all stakeholders, employees, consumers, business partners, as well as our surrounding communities. Deepa knows and understands this. Hence, she decided to support victims in our shelter with some percentage from the sales at the home party. This in turn will help former victims to get training and to become self sustainable. A lot of people bought clothes, they mingled, had some wine and finger food. In total, it was a success! I can not thank you enough Deepa! And thanks all of you who shopped for a good cause!

It takes many years to build a good reputation, but it only takes minutes to ruin it. Encrusted takes CSR to a whole new level, and I hope many will follow in their good steps.  

You can check out and order Deepa's clothes here: http://www.encrustd.com

Christmas party at Taj West End

Christmas party with Swedish Chamber of Commerce - to benefit victims of sex trafficking at Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter

Me and my colleague Raji
On the 5th of December we had the opportunity to fundraise at the beautiful and notorious five star hotel Taj West End, to benefit victims of sex trafficking at the NGO Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter. This opportunity was given to us thanks to Swedish Chamber of Commerce. The party had a Swedish Christmas theme, and was hosted by Johan Andersson (from Centigo), and Kaveri Sinhji (from Bluefoot, which is a top ranked tourist tour agency on TripAdvisor). 

I feel very privileged and blessed that I have had the opportunity to grow up in such a beautiful and great country such as Sweden. Not all has had this blessing. Despite the fact that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the country is facing tremendous problems with trafficking. Many victims that has been kidnapped, drugged, and raped feels that there is no hope, but there is. Thanks to organisations, such as Vidyaranya, victims can get protection and rehabilitation in their so-called Ujjawala shelter. 

As mentioned previously, Ujjawala shelters are part of a national governmental scheme, so most of their funding comes from the government. However, this is not enough. I strongly believe that we all should care, and be active actors in our surrounding communities, rather than just passive actors. If we do not care we only risk increasing injustices, such as when former victims are not getting vocational training, they are not being reintegrated, kids grow up poor and often sick ...  I truly believe that education (vocational training) and reintegration is the key to progression for these girls. 

There for, during my speech, I pledged for both short-term support, as well as long-term support. For example, the NGO has been given a pice of land, but we need funding for a new facility. We need help with vocational training and income generating activities, so that the former victims gets to be self sustainable and reintegrated. We also need help from a health perspective. 

During the dinner we managed to fundraise a total of 25 370 INR. Not bad at all coming from private donations. Thanks all of you who contributed and took the opportunity to be "gifted with the gift of giving". I feel very proud to be part of such a amazing organisation such as Vidyaranya. They have thought me a lot, and together we have achieved a great deal, but more needs to be done. For this, we need your help in the future as well. I hope
many of you will contribute with a Christmas donation so that we can buy the girls the most urgent basic items, such as sweaters, schampoo, amongst other things. Please send me an email should you wish you to contribute (petra-spencer@hotmail.com). 

Linus, Stef, Nisha and Johan 

Thank you kindly SCCI for this opportunity, and thanks to the media for coverage!

torsdag 3 december 2015

Trendy Scent is reaching out

The trendy hair & spa salon SCENT shows support in the fight to combat injustices

Yesterday I had a meeting with the Director of the trendy hair and spa salon SCENT, Mr. Vijay Lobo. As it turned out, Vijay is not only a very successful business owner, he has also been involved in fighting poverty and give help to the needy. He has had a huge commitment towards development issues, and he has worked a lot with orphaned children in the past. Now with his own children growing up, businesses are doing well, he says that he wants to give back to community. Further more, he said that everything is not about money, about gaining yourself all the time. It is such a relief to see when people are showing support. I am sure we can do something great together, to benefit less fortunate girls and women at Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter. 

As many of you already know, Scent has a very trendy and modern salon at Lavelle rd, and is present at some other locations as well. You can check Scent out here: https://www.facebook.com/ScentSalonSpaBangalore

Me and Vijay, at Scent Lavell rd

torsdag 19 november 2015

"Encrustd" clothes collection - and Vidyaranya

"Encrustd" clothes collection and Vidyaranya 
- a possible way forward for a charity/ fashion event

Today I met with the owner of Encrustd, which is a new clothes fashion brand here in Bangalore. Encrustd has launched its debut collection offering fresh perspectives on dressing, and a new way to shop (personal shopping and home parties e.g.). I find most of the clothes to be sophisticated, yet with a sexy look. Sparkle and embellishment shift into day with sophistication, and simple separates are elevated with contemporary interpretations. The clothes also have a more western look. 

At our lunch meeting we discussed how Encrustd could reach out better to the expat crowd, and doing an event for a charity cause at the same time. This could be a good opportunity for a CSR-initiativ of the company, and at the same time the NGO Vidyararnya and the victims of trafficking could gain from greater visibility and of course from some funds raised. More information will come soon, but please do visit their website: http://www.encrustd.com.

Below are a few of my favorites. And, thank you kindly dear friend Kaveri, for setting up this meeting! 

tisdag 17 november 2015

Children's Day @ Cubbon Park

Celebration of Children's Day/ "Makkala Habba"

One out of many items from the flower exhibition

On the occasion of Children's Day, United Way Bengaluru in association with the Women and Child Development Department, Government of Karnataka, and Vidyaranya, organized a two day festival. This festival took place at Cubbon Park, on the 14th and 15th of November. Parents and children had the opportunity to experience traditional life, games and food. It was a perfect opportunity for parents to share their fond childhood memories with their children while playing traditional games, such as for example cycle tyre race and skating on coconut palms.

Minister Smt Umashree
Guest could also participate in pottery making, basket weaving, butter churning, story telling, painting, to mention a few. There was also a beautiful flower exhibition at the festival. Guests to the festival was foremost the local crowd, but also quite a lot of expats attended. The Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of Karnataka, also attended the event, which was very exiting for us.

Children's play corner
At the event I spoke with the owner of the trendy Scent (hair and beauty salon). After speaking for a while, we agreed that we could try and do something on behalf of Vidyaranya. So, one meeting pending .. As a matter of fact, at the moment, there is a lot of things going on now for helping the victims, charity dinners, clothes exhibition/ fashion show for a good cause, the H&M project, and the Christmas fundraiser project. Good there is more people willing to help! 

onsdag 11 november 2015

Diwali celebration ...

Site visit to cheer the girls up with Diwali sweets

Yesterday me, new volunteer Steph and another woman named Thea (who is traveling India at the moment) went to the shelter to cheer the girls up with some Diwali sweets. We and a few friends bought some sweets, and friends also donated some clothes. During our last visit the girls was in a quite bad place, due to a recent death in the shelter. Of course some sweets can make up for their loss and make them feel better, but we tried, and are trying our best.

Me and the girls. Time to eat some sweets!

The girls invited us for tea and sweets, also driver Anil, and happily showed us around. I think the girls really appreciate when we come and do something to try to help them, and they are really taking pride in everything they accomplish in terms of handicraft. The girls have been making handicrafts that they will sell at one of the NGOs upcoming events, Children's Festival in Cubbon Park this weekend. 

New volunteer Steph, Thea, Shilpa and her daughter

Shilpa, now a social worker but a former victim, told us that she has started up a bank account and is now saving money for her daughter every month. I think this is really good! She is really taking care and responsibility for her daughter. As mentioned before, Shilpa's daughter survived in her mother's womb during her captivity and sexual slavery. Her daughter has her birthday next month, which we definitely will take part in celebrating.

Yesterday I got some other great news. Swedish Chamber of Commerce said that they will organize the Christmas dinner with the Swedish companies on the 5th of December so that we also can fundraise on behalf of the Ujjawala shelter. Unfortunately this means that my next "run for a cause" needs to be postponed, but that's ok since the Christmas dinner will be a great opportunity for the NGO. 

Of course Tono watch over us ;)

söndag 1 november 2015

Visit with possible new volunteering, and sad news ...

Visit to shelter with friend, and delivery of sad news

A few days ago I went to the shelter (one of my regular visits) with a friend, and possible new volunteer. As it has turned out, I might be gone a lot next year, hence we need some more help for the girls in the shelter. This day, Stefanie and me delivered rise and sugar (from my very sweet landlord), hair oil, baby cream, biscuits, baby and adult clothes and some other stuff. 

This day we got to hear some very sad news. One of the long-term stay girls had died, due to unknown reasons. She had probably been sick for a long time, but we will probably never get to know what it was that caused her death. The others in the shelter was very sad, of course. Me and Stefanie decided that we are gonna try to cheer them up a bit soon, with making a Diwali celebration.  If anyone want of you want to chip in, please let us know.

Stefanie Rylander

tisdag 13 oktober 2015

Initial meeting with H&M to discuss CSR

Meeting with H&M to discuss how they can play a role in rehabilitating the former victims of sex trafficking

Kiran Gokathoti
Recently I met with Sustainability Manager Kiran Gokathoti at H&Ms office, at World Trade Center. We discussed how the company could take part in the empowerment of the former trafficked victims. One possible way they could contribute would be to undertake income-generating activities for the women, and this would in that case be done in the vendors/ suppliers factories. The shelter provides for vocational training, such as how to use a sewing machine, so this could be a really good approach.

In this way the women would come one step further in their process of rehabilitation and reintegration, as well as to become self sustainable. H&M would be able to contribute to by emphasizing on women empowerment, which is one of the company's sustainability objectives, and by using some of their CSR-funds. This would be something not only the former victims would gain from, but also H&M. And as some of you already know, in India there is a law that says that 2 percent of a business net profit (depends on revenue) must be spent on CSR-activities.

The company really try to make sure that they produce fashion with a conscience. And it seems as they have come a long way now. A project such as this would mean that the company take responsibility for the world they are active in, and the people around them. Companies, such as H&M, can here play an invaluable role in combating injustices, such as saving a former victim from poverty, for example. Many times a former victim is left to rely on herself due to the fact that she can not get married after being sexually exploited, possibly with a child (from being raped), without any social safety nets or job. 

A non functioning support system (safety nets; governmental/ non-governmental) can also spur socio-economic injustices, as victims risk end up in poverty if they are not properly integrated back into society. There are many inter-related issues causing traffickers to do what they do, and sometimes for why some girls are easier to be targeted than others. But in order to solve injustices in the long run, such as sexual exploitation, poverty alleviation is required. It should not only be an issue for the people directly concerned, but the society in general as well. And it looks as some do take responsibility. At the end of the meeting we agreed to set up another meeting soon, to discuss a possible way forward.  

Brigade Gateway/ World Trade Centre

This day I also met with Mohammed Khan, Director of Food and Beverages, at Sheraton Hotel (as I was in the area). He approached me and told me that the plan to host a cocktail charity party at their premises was almost approved from the board now. The most amazing thing about this (well of course besides the fact that the victims would gain a lot) is that the party would actually take place at the terrace/ roof top, which would be really cool! Hopefully this would attract a lot of people to come. 

söndag 4 oktober 2015

Halli Habba - Village Festival

"Halli Habba Festival", which is a village festival, was organized on the special occasion of "Daan Utsav", or "joy of giving week". People from all walks of life are encouraged to do the acts of giving during this week. The Halli Habba festival was organized by the NGO Vidyaranya on the 3rd and 4th of October at Freedom Park, Bangalore. 

At this festival urban folks had the opportunity to experience village traditions of different states. The event focused on rural food, games, art and culture, as well as rural life. All to benefit guests, as well as less fortunate people - truly a win-win- situation! 

Support from expat friends :)
Not only urban locals, especially youth, but also expats had here the opportunity to truly experience Indian rural culture. Even though it is quite easy for us expats to stay in our comfy zones, some paid a visit to the festival. Many of us expats can also afford to help out by buying some fabric etc. In my opinion, there is only good causes to support when it comes to attending these type of events, especially since many beneficiaries most often are the lowest social strata of the community. 

Funds raised from the Halli Habba event will be utilized for infrastructure development of a residential school for the mentally challenged at Mandur. Women and girls were also empowered, as former victims of sex trafficking attended the event and sold handicraft. In addition to this other less fortunate people benefited from the event, such as vulnerable children, disabled people, elderly, marginalized girls and women, amongst others. 

Politicians also paid a visit to the event, and I managed to greet the Minister of Transport. The NGO and event also got a lot of good and well needed media exposure. Below are some of the organisations that Vidyaranya partnered with.

IndiaCares http://icfn.in

onsdag 30 september 2015

Healthy corporate social responsibility - charity fit

Do you want to encourage your employees and contribute to their health,
Me and Noomi, prep-work for the 18th

while helping women and girls who are victims of human trafficking?

Then register for "Bengaluru Marathon 2015" and make a small donation by using the link below (you can give 500 rupees, or more, it is totally up to you). The run takes place on the 18th of October. You do not have to run of course. Walk, jog or run. For the really active ones there is the full and half marathon (42 and 21 k), but you can also do the 5 k run. It does not matter, as long as you show your support to less fortunate people!

Human trafficking is a crime against
humanity, and it needs our attention
Do something for your health, at the same time as you are doing something good! You can also simply pep others simply by making a donation! Why am I doing this? Because development issues, such as women and children’s rights, are for me crucial core issues to work with in order to promote democracy, and hence to combat injustices. And human trafficking is a crime against humanity which needs our attention.

Whether you are overloaded at work, or a full-time mom, there is nowadays no excuse not to exercise really (unless you are sick of course). As most of you probably already know, exercising regularly (at least 30 minutes in total every day) not only improves your body's fitness, it also reduces stress. Being active can boost your immune system, self confidence and distract you from your daily worries - so come and join us at the run! And yes, I will also participate, of course.


These former victims need our help

torsdag 3 september 2015

Site visit with a swedish guest

Its been a couple of weeks since I visited the girls in the shelter. This time I decided to bring rice, daal, maida, spices, detergent bars, shower cream, and hair oil. I also brought a swedish friend, Dan, from our community. We drank tea, and the girls proudly showed him around in the shelter, and we also greeted a mom with a 3 month old baby. The mom, being a former victim of sex trafficking, is now being rehabilitated in the shelter. Thanks to organisations such as Vidyaranya, she and her baby is doing relatively ok. Dan donated some clothes and shoes, which will help them in the shelter, and if not there the other projects or people in the sorrounding community will benefit from this.

After the tour inside the shelter, we continued to the cleaning facilities, and the girls showed us a broken door. As it turned out, Dan is a handy man, and he agreed to fix one the "bathroom doors". It was a bit tricky though to take the measurements for the door cause there was no electronic lightning out there, since one former victim had committed suicide (using the lightning). As I have mentioned here earlier, one door is broken so the neighbors can have a peek in on the girls when they perform their essential needs.

We also discussed the previous event, at Mövenpick Hotel, and the girls seemed really pleased with it. I am really looking forward to the next event, and I hope that more caring people, such as Dan, take interest in helping victims such as these girls and women. Even the simplest things can really make a huge difference in someones life!  

Social worker Indira and Shilpa, and our swedish guest Dan. 

måndag 17 augusti 2015

Cocktail Charity Party

On the 14th of August a Cocktail Charity Party were held at Mövenpick Hotel, to benefit victims of sex trafficking at the NGO Vidyaranya's shelter for victims of sex trafficking.

As the initiative taker and hostess I opened up the event and gave a speech about human trafficking. In India there are millions of trafficking victims, and it is estimated that there are about 1.2 million child sex slaves in the country. Karnataka has reported the third highest number of human trafficking cases in the country (during 2009-2012). These numbers however includes all victims, not only sex trafficking victims. Bangalore seems to be both a supply, transit and destination area for trafficking. Traffickers includes school teachers, local leaders, family members, the police, and so on. Girls are being kidnapped, sold, drugged, raped and exposed to diseases. Many of them believe that there is no hope - but there is. Thanks to organizations, such as Vidyaranya, victims of sex trafficking can get adequate help, physically as well as psycho-socially.

A very brave former victim shared her story with us
At the event a former victim of sex trafficking Ms. Shilpa also gave a speech. She was very brave and shared her story with us. Even though Shilpa was 2 months pregnant at the time she was taken and sold to a brothel in Mumbai. Luckily she was rescued and rehabilitated by Vidyaranya. Today she, and her 5-year old daughter, lives at the Ujjawala shelter. She is also working as a social worker at the shelter.

Mr. M.C. Ramesh, Vidyaranya
The Founder and Director of Vidyaranya, Mr. M.C. Ramesh also gave a speech. So did Ms. Rajikala. A special thanks goes out to Mövenpick Hotel (and especially to Rahul) for their generous cooperation.

Thanks Katie Forsman @ Pie Design
A special thanks also to our sponsors Pie Design and Lotus Vibe. And also, thanks to INDPRO for their CSR-contribution. Last but not least, thanks to all of you who came and showed your support, and also for buying tickets, as half of the ticket fee went directly to the shelter.

In total, we managed to raise about 88 000 INR, and it seemed as though guest were enjoying themselves, as well as the food and cocktails. Mövenpick had been very generous since it was not only finger-food but actually a whole buffee dinner set up for us. It was a shame though that the invitations from SCCI did not make it out in time, but hopefully more people will attend next charity party.

Me and some INDPRO-staff
Bags sponsored by Lotus Vibe

onsdag 12 augusti 2015

Some more prep-work

I started to prepare for the upcoming charity event months ago, with establishing the right contacts, have meetings and discuss funding, logistics and program etc.  However, now some real prep-work needed to be done. Fliers and posters about the event have been handed out and put up, and additional marketing about the event in social media have been done. Luckily, a very kind person by the name Katie Forsman (at Pie Design) agreed to do the graphic material for the event. However, market the event in malls have not been successful, as it seems as though you are not allowed to put up posters in any of the malls here in Bangalore (not even with a bit of a "tip").

Also, Swedish Chamber of Commerce India (SCCI) and Overseas Women's Club (OWC) agreed to do emailers to all their members, so this should attracts some more people to come. The only company, so far, that has agreed to do a CSR-contribution though is the IT-company INDPRO, but I am holding my fingers crossed that there will be additional donations at the event, from both private persons as well as possible companies. But at least 50% of the ticket fee will go directly to Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter, so that is really good.

Some lovely ladies in Pebble bay have also donated some salvars and saris to the victim in the shelter that will hold a speech. Preparing the former victim, Shilpa, turned out to be just a little bit more tricky than I though, but I am sure everything will be fine.

Yesterday was for me, sorry to say this, but a real shitty day (and this had nothing what so ever to do with my shelter work). But after meeting the lovely Shilpa at the shelter I always realize that there is no need to be so frustrated about not very relevant issues in our lives. I hope my mindset one day can be as "at ease" as Shilpa, for example. But having said this, I still think that I will be as frustrated as always when locals do the photographing, grabbing and pinching.

Even though Shilpa has been through so much horrors in her life she says that she is happy and content with her life, but that she wants to help the shelter more. She is quite an amazing young woman, I must say.

Some of the clothes donated to the shelter

söndag 2 augusti 2015

Prep-work for our upcoming cocktail charity party 14 Aug

On the 1st of August I took two staff members from Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter to Mövenpick Hotel, in order to prepare for our upcoming cocktail charity party. One of the girls (who work as a social worker at the shelter) is also a former victim of sex trafficking. We spoke with Mr. Rahul who is the Director for food and beverages at the hotel, walked the premises of the hotel and later sat down and had some drinks and snacks. Shilpa (to the right in the photo) told me how she felt blessed by god. She explained that she was very thankful to the NGO Vidyaranya for have helped her and her daughter. We also discussed cultural differences, and how it can be indecent (for westerners) to show shoulders etc. but decent for indian women to show their belly and back in saris. We laughed quite a bit discussing these, and other, cultural clashes. 

Social worker Indira, me and social worker Shilpa

In the end, it seemed as both me and Shilpa are nervous about the upcoming event. But hey, what can possibly go wrong.. All we can do is do our best! If you are interested in the event, please visit this website: https://swedishcsrbangalore.yapsody.com/event/index/14769/light-up-a-life-cocktail-charity-party

onsdag 1 juli 2015

Site visit to shelter with a friend

In the beginning of June my dear swedish friend Emelie accompanied me to the Ujjawala shelter, in order to deliver some food and hygienic items for every day use. Some of the items received were lentils, biscuits, shampoo, sponges for washing, combs and hair brushes. The girls also gave us the latest news and showed us around. They were very happy to show us their beautician items they used in their training to become beauticians. and they also showed us material for their sewing course. This day we also tried taking some photos that could be used for the upcoming cocktail charity event. Beneficiaries of the event will be the victims in this shelter, Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter. Me and my friend also sat down and spoke with the girl victims and the shelter staff. The girls blessed us with some bindis.

Emelie and me 

lördag 11 april 2015

Going forward - support from the Government and possibly SCCI

On the 4th of April, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment of India, Shri Vijay, visited some of the NGO Vidyaranya's projects. Member or Parliament, Shri Avinash, and the Director for Welfare of Disabled people, Shri Jayanna, accompanied the Minister. The Minister praised the good work of Vidyaranya, and hoped he would have more time during next visit to Bangalore, for further visits to the NGO and its beneficiaries.

Minister Shri Vijay greeting beneficiaries in Mandur

On the 10th of April another important meeting took place on behalf of the NGO Vidyaranya, as I had a very productive lunch meeting with the General Manager for Swedish Chamber of Commerce India (SCCI), Ms. Sara Larsson. Besides meeting Sara Larsson, I also had the opportunity to meet Ms. Dolly Berry, responsible for Operations and Events at SCCI, and Ms. Saloni Zaveri-Ahluwalia, Public Relations Manager at the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi.

One topic we discussed was how swedish corporates can play in invaluable role in supporting victims of gender based violence (such as sex trafficking of girls and women), amongst other injustices. Further, we talked about an intent to start an official forum, or platform, on how swedish corporates better can utilize their CSR-funds. And for this, I hope Vidyaranya and the victims at their sex trafficking shelter can be a part of - all fingers crossed!

I almost forgot to mention ...  Unfortunately Scania had to postpone their intended site vist to Vidyaranya's shelter for sex trafficked victims. However, they mentioned that they will come and visit us soon. 

fredag 13 februari 2015

2015 - Murder with good intentions...

Rainbow Home
After having spent Christmas back home in Sweden I came back with some more funds, to the benefit of some children in one of the NGO Vidyaranya's projects (the Rainbow Home). Friends to our family back home had decided that they wanted to support, and the children really needed this funds so that they too could start the new year with a small new year celebration event. I went to see the girls at Vidyaranya's Ujjawala shelter again, and this time with some more food. The girls in the shelter home had been asking for meat, so I went out with my friend and driver to buy this. Meat is expensive so the girls can rarely eat this. To buy these food items was easier said than done. Did I tell you that I am a vegetarian (and has always been)?

My friend Anill 
We started off with buying the fish, which was an quite easy task. The shop owner even gave us some discount.
Some chickens are dead, due to me...
Then off we went to buy the meat, and we decided to start with some chicken. The butcher asked how many I wanted and then went to a cage and pulled some poor chickens out. Surely I should have thought about this, but it only struck me while I was standing there.. I was now, for the first time in my life, responsible for the murder and slaughtering of some chickens (nine to be precise).

After this incident I decided that the girls will not have mutton, not this day at least. So, I went to buy some more vegetables and fruit instead. This man in the fruit and vegetable stand was really helpful, and also asked whether I eaten breakfast or not. I responded that I had, and that I mostly eat bananas for breakfast. The sweat man then handed me a banana. It takes some time for me sometimes to see the good spirit in people here, and for that I blame myself and the rush I sometimes put myself in. 

At the Ujjawala shelter, candle making
Back at the shelter home the girls were happy to get some food, and especially meat and fish. The girls then proudly showed me their candle making, and told me about some of the courses that some of the girls are attending. They told me about their beautician course, and told me that I must come when they have completed it, so that they could do my face and nails. This type of vocational training is crucial if the girls are to be fully rehabilitated. It can work as a way to safeguard the girls from being re-trafficked. 

Ujjawala shelter, bathroom door
Ujjawala shelter, food preparation
The girls also asked for some other items, such as a functioning door to "the bathroom". The girls also invited me for lunch. This day I heard a very sad thing. A 10-year old girl was now staying at the shelter home, after being kidnapped, locked-up and raped. I spoke with the girl and gave her my hair pin, but she seemed a bit intimidated... Need not to be said maybe, but proper rehabilitation mechanisms of these victims are crucial.

Even people with a relatively low income (here in India) have been donating towards the shelter, with good grace. Imagine what we all can do to help the poor, vulnerable and more needful people. 

The girls currently also need sandals, bucket jugs (so the girls can take a bath), and scrubbers (for washing clothes).