Urmi Basu is a woman from India who is making a difference. She founded New Light, a non-profit organization in Kolkata, whose mission is to “promote gender equality through education and life-skill training, thereby reduce harm caused by violence and abuse to women and young children.”
New Light describes itself on its website as a “community development project and charitable trust based in Kalighat, Kolkata, one of the oldest red light districts of the city. Since 2000, New Light has provided shelter, educational opportunities, recreational facilities, healthcare and legal aid for the children, girls and women in the Kalighat community. There is a crèche and night-shelter for the protection and education of victims of trafficking, women in prostitution, and children rescued from red light areas. New Light also provides micro-credit facilities and an income-generation program (Anchal) for mothers within the area. With regard to healthcare, New Light is particularly concerned with HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. New Light is a secular organization, and women from all religious communities are invited to join the organization. The demographic composition reflects India’s diversity, with Hindi-speaking and non-Indian women from Nepal and Bangladesh representing 30% of the community.”
Concretely, “New Light provides more than two hundred children of sex workers with education, healthcare and nutritional support, as well as the opportunity to live free of abuse, violence and stigma. In addition to running shelters for children, the agency founded in 2000 with just $200 also aims to stop the trafficking of young girls into sex trade and to provide care to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.”
Importantly, New Light believes that women in prostitution are victims; most have not chosen this path. Thus the organization does not involve itself in public policy or support legislation. So help New Light help women in the sex trade find a different life. Join one of New Light’s internship opportunities or volunteer your nursing, teaching, stress management, research or computer skills. Find out more here.