Project Sanlaap

Campaign Story

About the project

Kolkata’s red light areas are infamous for being one of the largest in Asia. What’s not so well known about these places, however, is that they have many children. One or more adult members in families here are engaged in sex work. Because of the cycle of poverty, discrimination, and the kinds of social pressure children face in these locations, they are often at risk of being pushed towards becoming commercial sex workers themselves. Many are trafficked and child marriage is often used as a tool by the traffickers.

Making a difference

Even in neighborhoods as difficult as the ones in the red light areas of Kolkata, there is hope, as many children have found ways to overcome their challenges through the support of CRY America project Sanlaap. CRY America project Sanlaap works to prevent children from child trafficking, child labor and child marriage. Children are rescued from prostitution and child trafficking and are connected with survivor groups and counselled. The key activities which take place are strengthening of youth groups, enrolment of children from 6 to 18 years in school and youth led advocacy events.

The way forward

● Providing special coaching support to vulnerable children
● Advocacy on rehabilitation & reintegration
● District level and state level consultation on the challenges faced while running rehabilitation programs

The way forward

2022 Plan Highlights

● To prevent vulnerable children from being trafficked
● Rescue and rehabilitate the survivors from exploitative situations through community intervention
● Engagement with the system for ensuring justice to every child in the operational area

2021 Grant Disbursed = $22,740

Project Impact

Dropout children mainstreamed

30

Dropout children mainstreamed

Youth led school / community awareness programs conducted

10

Youth led school / community awareness programs conducted

Children were reached through audio capsules

2000

Children were reached through audio capsules

trafficked survivors engaged in education

100

Trafficked survivors engaged in education

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Last Year’s Grant Disbursed : $23,920

Current Year’s Approved Grant

Administration$4,966
Protection$24,612
Total Budget$29,578

Journey towards a Youth Leader: The Inspiring Story of Zaheer

Zaheer* was just 16 years old when he joined Sanlaap three years ago. He was the second child in a family of seven siblings. Before Zaheer’s father fell ill, his mother had worked as a commercial sex worker but eventually gave it up to produce paper pouches at home. Difficult financial situations made Zaheer quit school at a young age to work with his brother in a tea factory near his house.

Although Zaheer was passionate about learning and playing football, he became a victim of substance abuse due to the stress and mental health issues he was facing. However, after a field worker from Sanlaap heard about him, they contacted him and encouraged him to come to the center. He got in touch with the local personnel and expressed a desire to continue his studies at the coaching center in the evenings. He declined to enroll in school, as he was currently the sole breadwinner in his family.

After affiliating with Sanlaap, he resumed his education and learned about child rights. He worked for an additional three hours after finishing his studies before returning home around midnight. With constant counseling and motivation from the field staff, he was able to overcome his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

He began raising his voice against child labor and physical and verbal abuse by organizing various community awareness campaigns. He also enrolled his sisters at Sanlaap’s center and a reputable government school with the money he had earned. He not only advocated for child rights but also for the education of girls.

When Zaheer learned that Sanlaap provided football coaching, he enrolled for it and began practicing early in the morning. His enthusiasm for football caught the attention of Sanlaap’s football coach, who offered him the opportunity to play in a trial game. After observing his outstanding performance, he was preliminarily selected for the final round, which could potentially change his life.

Zaheer has been a positive influence on the children and youth in red light areas. Despite his work obligations, he made an effort to educate himself and pursue his passion for football as a career. As a result, he rose to the role of youth leader and actively promotes child rights in the area where he lives. Zaheer is able to read and write, and his future is looking brighter than ever before.

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NameDonate AmountDate
Arti and Ketan Duvedi $24,072July 07, 2023