Cast a stone
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
Today we got to the heart of our purpose here in Kolkata. We came to learn more about the projects STN Trust has supported over the last two years and to explore further opportunities to support the anti-trafficking movement here in Kolkata, to be a part of the fight to bring an end to human slavery.
We spent time in the morning with the IJM Kolkata team in their new premises. We learnt about their recent achievements and the work they have been doing to build a picture of the impact their work is having in this area of India. It was really encouraging to learn about the multi-agency collaboration established here in Kolkata.
From the IJM offices we left the city centre and drove to a village in the south of West Bengal where we met with another Big Life fellowship in the home of a local family. Lots of women and children from 2 other fellowships came to join us. We had come with the specific purpose of piloting our raising awareness initiative, which begins by sharing a simple story about a girl named Sajil. Sajil dreams of becoming a nurse but becomes the victim of trafficking. The booklet is designed, with its beautiful hand painted illustrations to be shared in fellowship groups such as the one we visited with today. Our vision is to see that these local individuals will become part of a movement of raising awareness of the issues surrounding human trafficking in rural communities. The impact of Sajil's Story was overwhelming. A passionate discussion brewed and the women gave very constructive feedback, offering to be involved in writing extra content. One 17 year old girl suggested the story was shared in schools too. Most incredibly the women took these sample booklets away with them because they wanted to begin raising awareness immediately!
Our day ended with a visit to Big Life's first Street School. This school is an impromptu school set up 3 times a week from 4pm to 7pm in the heart of a settlement under one of Kolkata's main flyovers. We witnessed first hand the impact of this project. In this makeshift community, dark with oppression, living as no human should live, this Street School was a beacon of hope.
We learnt about and celebrated the recent permission granted to use a designated area of this space under the flyover to build a classroom area for the children. We also learned about Big Life's hopes to expand this project and to start a second school in another Street Community in the new year.
Tomorrow we begin our homeward journey. We have had an incredible week, delving into our work on anti-trafficking. We have shared many hopes, dreams, tears, despair, but most importantly we have dreamed dreams and shared visions. This week has opened many new doors and we leave with thankful hearts for our partnerships with IJM and Big Life.
If you want to learn more about the work of STN Trust please visit our website: www.stntrust.org
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