At Destiny Reflection, we are committed to breaking the cycles of exploitation underlying the crisis of human trafficking in Kolkata. We focus on providing long-term support to create opportunities for reintegration and prevent re-trafficking. Our support includes long-term social care (including housing), education and employment support, alongside our community centre based in a Khidirpur which is a trafficking hotspot area in Kolkata.
Khidirpur holds a complex identity as both a slum and a red-light area. The children within the community, especially children of trafficking survivors, experience marginalisation and fewer educational opportunities. As a result, a cycle of exploitation appears, as they become at a higher risk to traffickers.
Our local community centre and its programs are designed to tackle systemic inequalities at the core of trafficking risk; thereby protecting youth before trafficking occurs. A recent 6-month course in Python programming taught students coding alongside education on the potential trafficking risks, online and offline. Increased employability protects children from exploitative traffickers, who often lure them in under the guise of work opportunities.
On the 7th of July, we celebrated the students' completion of the course. This program was created in collaboration with Pi Kids and Sage Camp from USA, which awarded our students essential hardware and software to continue their coding and digital education. The awards included Kindle e-readers, Raspberry Pi kits and keyboard/mouse setups. Read more about Raspberry Pi and their innovative technology.
We were delighted to welcome Dr Praveeen Kumar (Inspector General) and Arijit Hajra, CEO of Think Again Lab, who came to the centre to hand out these awards.
Our audience also included adults and survivors from the local area, alongside the students' families and friends. We were all very impressed with the workshop the students gave, showing us the skill they had learnt!
The event coincided with completing the new Destiny mural, painted by one of our talented local volunteers, Sangay. The young people were excited by the design, and we hope this will encourage more people to join the centre.
This project was the start of many more projects in the local area, and we are thrilled by the success. It is vital we continue safeguarding children's futures by providing them with the necessary tools and skills to resist the threats of exploitation and trafficking throughout their lives. This comprehensive approach ensures that the children are not only protected in the short term but also empowered to make informed choices and lead self-determined lives that are resilient to the risks they face now.