Global Seva Challenge India 2012
I had been searching for a way to take the transformative process experienced in my personal yoga practice, off the mat and into charitable service. Known as Seva (selfless service), is a way of connecting to something that is bigger than ourselves. Having spent time in India in September of 2011, I was intrigued to see that the Global Seva Challenge with Off the Mat, Into the World is dedicating its energies to raising funds and awareness around sex trafficking in India and worldwide.
The goal was to raise $20,000 in 2012 through various fund raising events, donation based yoga classes, product sales and individual monetary donations. When I reached the goal, I traveled with the Off the Mat, Into the World contingent to bear witness to the programs that we are supporting. These included organizations that actively rescue women and girls from the sex trafficking trade in India. This transition from slave to freedom needs continuing support through offering job skills, Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), and education with dignity and compassion.
The majority of these victims have no voice, suffer kidnapping, rape, assault and sometimes murder. We are in a position to give them a voice, to empower change.
Sex trafficking is a global issue that is inextricably linked with limited economic opportunities as well as social and cultural factors. The problem is made worse by the lack of awareness, government corruption and poor enforcement of international anti-trafficking laws. The solution must ultimately include an understanding of the root causes of sex trafficking and offer greater opportunities for survivors to recover and reintegrate back into society in a healthy way.
What can still be done?
Some of the seva participants who were in India in February/March 2013 are continuing their efforts of raising awareness and funds for the organizations OTM has partnered with. You can still be part of the support system by attending events or by simply making a donation. To learn more...keep reading.
What OTM accomplished in the 2012 Seva Challenge:
The collective of fundraisers raised $1,001,028.00 which goes to great lengths in India.
More than 200 people around the world joined our 2012 campaign to combat sex trafficking in India and raise awareness worldwide. 40 people succeeded in reaching their goal of raising $20,000+ each and were invited to travel to India with OTM and TVE (The Village Experience) in February 2013.
Sanlaap is dedicated to working against the trafficking of women and children for commercial and sexual exploitation. They make an impact by freeing victims of sexual exploitation and housing them in communities that ensure access to health, education, and protection from abuse and exploitation. Sanlaap operates the Sneha Shelter Home in Kolkata, India which houses, rehabilitates, feeds, educates, and trains over 150 young girls.
What we funded:
- The construction of a new shelter home to house 25 girls who have reached the age of 18 and need a safe, affordable place to live as they attempt to reintegrate into society and begin working.
- The construction of a new vocational skills training center that will house an artisan workshop focused on block printing, batik’ing, and tailoring. Two classrooms will also be built to teach literacy, English, Hindi, Bengali, geography, and other informal education. TVE’s design team will be going to Sanlaap in May to conduct a training session and set up the workshop. They will then be responsible for selling and distributing the fair trade products.
Renovation of the Drop in Centers in Bowbazar and Khidirpur cost $2200 each. This includes new floors, ceiling, paint, carpets for the kids, storage cabinets, blackboard, TV/DVD player, and educational materials including Hindi and Bengali books. GREAT Project!
- Monthly funding of program expenses at Bowbazar and Khidirpur Drop in Centers - $600 per month covers the entire program at one center – food, education, salaries, rent, etc. We would like to get commitments to cover each center for the next year. Total $14,400
- Equipping two classrooms in the new vocational skills training center – desks, chairs, chalkboard, globe, filing cabinets, etc. Awaiting numbers. Anticipate about $1k per classroom
- Wishlist for Sneha Shelter:
- 75 new sets of bunk beds (these haven’t been replaced since 2000) – they will replace them as money come in one at a time. Cost is $240 per set.
- 300 dresses for the girls for Puja during the month of September. $10 per dress.
- 2 generators – haven’t been replaced since 2000 and barely work at this point. Very important need.
- Musical instruments such as harmonium and tabla - $240
- Comfortable furniture for the sick/rehabilitation room - $500
- Camera has been requested – if someone wants to fund this, it can be brought over in April by design team
- Drum – these have been sent by Nadine – thank you!
- Products will be available to purchase or sell in boutiques in the fall via The Opportunity Collection by The Village Experience (www.experiencethevillage.com)
Made by Survivors:
Made By Survivors is an international nonprofit organization, which employs and educates survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses, including many women and children living in extreme poverty. Their programs provide training in highly respected professions and wages high enough to get people out of poverty and able to support themselves independently. 100% of profits go to support rescue and aftercare.
What we funded:
Expansion of the jewelry program in Kolkata, India. Funding will allow for two training centers to be set up, 40 new artisans to be trained, new equipment to be purchased, and a new permanent jewelry production center to be set up.
- House of Hearts Artisan Project started by one of the Made by Survivor jewelry artisans, Somi – 6 sewing machines are needed. $200 each. Total $1200.
- Drive people to the website to purchase Made by Survivor’s jewelry. www.madebysurvivors.com
Women’s Interlink Foundation:
Women’s Interlink Foundation is dedicated to designing and implementing integrated programs for wide scale replication. They do this by providing multiple needs based interventions such as awareness, literacy to women and children, health care, nutrition, skills development, income generation, shelter, drinking water, sanitation, prevention of violence on target groups vis-à-vis trafficking, deprivation of basic rights, consumer rights and redressal. They believe in developing and working with networks at community, national and international levels.
What we funded:
We worked with Child Care Home and Nijoloy Shelter Home on implementing yoga into their curriculum. We are in the process of developing a program they can follow and fundraising for a yoga teacher, mats, and developmental costs.
- Funding of yoga curriculum into the Nijoloy and Child Care Homes – initiative being led by Krista Zember. Goal = $3k for one year.
- Build 3rd Floor at the Nijoloy Shelter Home - $55,000
- Large scale project of constructing a new shelter home - $190,000
Ananda Marga is a global spiritual and social service organization founded in 1955 by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar). The mission of Ananda Marga is self-realization (individual emancipation) and service to humanity (collective welfare): the fulfillment of the physical, mental and spiritual needs of all people. Through its meditation centers and service projects around the world, Ananda Marga offers instruction in meditation, yoga and other self-development practices on a non-commercial basis, and responds to social emergencies and long-term social needs.
We worked with a girl’s orphanage on the outskirts of Kolkata, which houses 18 girls under the age of 9 so they will not fall victim to traffickers. This is one of many projects in India and throughout the world that AMURT supports.
What we funded:
- Overall administrative expenses to keep the orphanage running and take proper care of the children.
- Purchase of entire building so that AMURT can expand to the bottom floor and allow more girls to come to the center and the Didi’s to have a place to overnight. Total $60,000
Kolkata Sanved was founded in 2004 by Ashoka Fellow Sohini Chakraborty, a sociologist and dance activist. In 1996 Sohini started a dance project within Sneha (a shelter and care home for trafficked women and girls run by Sanlaap) as a volunteer. For twelve years Sohini experimented with breaking the barriers of traditional dance. The success of Sohini's work led to the establishment of Kolkata Sanved in 2004 with five founder members who are residents of Sneha. Members communicate in workshops and performances on the issues of trafficking, violence against women, and child exploitation through the intimate and powerful medium of dance.
Today Kolkata Sanved has expanded its program to work in rural and urban India, Bangladesh and Nepal to establish dance movement as an alternative approach to recovery and healing for the psychosocial rehabilitation of victims of violence and trafficking, mental health patients, women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS, domestic workers, railway platform children and mainstream school children.
What we funded:
- Purchase of 7 seater vehicle to transport Dance Movement Therapists to their sessions in the community and to transport the dance team to performances to raise awareness on the topic of human-trafficking.
- Logistical and administrative expenses for the overall operation of running Kolkata Sanved.
- Programming costs to implement DMT at additional shelter homes – anything you can raise will help! The shelter homes are desperate to have this kind of therapy session in their organizations on a consistent level, but many cannot afford it.
Apne Aap is an advocacy group based in New Delhi with offices all over India. Their Mission is to increase choices for at-risk girls and women in order to ensure access to their rights, and to deter the purchase of sex through policy and social change. Their vision is a world where every woman and girl can realize her full potential.
What we funded:
- Literacy and vocational skills training program in an area called Najafgargh.
- Overall operational costs of community development center and program in Najafgargh.
- Funding of programs similar to the one we funded are needed in other areas where Apne Aap works. Any amount helps.
- Continued support for vocational skills training – teacher salaries, new computers, sewing machines and supplies, educational supplies. Each sewing machine costs $200. Each computer costs $400.
Donation checks can be made out and sent to Off the Mat – be sure to reference the organization and the project it is intended for. OTM will then coordinate with Kelly Campbell at TVE to get the funding to the partners and monitor the progress of each project.
Global Seva India
66 Townsend Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Email Rebecca at email@example.com.
Join me as I continue supporting the above organizations.
I am inspired to be reaching into my own community and beyond and thank you in advance for your support.