The phrase “A lotus blooming in a muddy pond” aptly describes the life of Tumpa Adhikary, born in a red-light area of Kolkata. The daughter of a sex worker, Tumpa would have been forced to fill into her mother’s shoes—a fate that awaits most young (and even underage) girls in such areas. However, this 28-year old woman fought against her fate and today, she is a beacon of hope for youngsters in her locality.
Tumpa is one of the founding members of Diksha, a youth-run programme in Kalighat’s red-light area that works towards child protection through direct community participation. She continues to inspire others, especially the children and young girls of sex workers, through her relentless efforts to provide them the option to seek a life outside the flesh trade.
Skill Training And Women Empowerment Centre In Kalighat
One of the biggest struggles for sex workers in red light area is to sustain a life beyond the flesh trade. Often, older women who are no longer capable of continuing their job become economically marginalised. They have no plan-B and hardly any other option of gaining economic sustenance other than forcing their children into the same trade, condemning them to a bleak and painful future.
Through its extensive support and network, KF has helped develop a framework to create a business venture by these older women. We have helped set up a skill training and women empowerment centre in Kalighat, where these women are learning new skills and exploring new scopes of earning such as providing home delivery services of food for local houses and offices. This is creating inspiration and economic stability for girls and women from the area who now have other livelihood options and undoubtedly, a brighter future outside the trade.
Learning Center And Safe Space For Children
Kutchina Foundation is fulfilling its commitment towards ensuring rights to young girls and children through various programmes and support activities. One such activity is developing a learning center and safe space for children in the red-light area of Kalighat. This centre gives space for children to read, learn, play, and stay safe through regular mentoring, cultural support and training from this centre. Currently 50 children are connected with this centre.
Through our Kutchina Krittika, Tumpa Adhikary, we are transforming the lives of those children who are born or brought into the area. As someone raised in this area, Tumpa embodies both, the challenges and the aspirations of her generation, facing similar challenges and nurturing similar aspirations.