The Telegraph
Saturday , June 21 , 2014
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Mom’s pain in film by kids of red-light areas

Piyali Debnath, 14, narrates in a short video the story of her mother’s hard life in a ghetto

Anjali Das, 8, screams aloud in the rough cut of her film the dream to become a Bollywood moviemaker

The two girls from Sonagachhi and Munshigunje are among 50 children from Calcutta’s red-light districts learning to write a story, turn it into a script and then insert the scrawl into a video.

Initiated by Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an organisation fighting against sex-trafficking, and supported by the French Cultural Centre, these children were being taught moviemaking with a story of their own at a workshop that will conclude on Saturday.

The stories are heartrending, to say the least.

Little girls crisply narrated the daily hardship faced by their mothers, their desire for education as well as issues such as sanitation in the place where they stay.

Piyali and Anjali showed the rough cut of their videos to the media at Alliance Francaise du Bengale on Friday.

“I want to study and help my mother. I want to show the world how difficult my mother’s life is,” said Piyali.

Anjali said: “This is the first time I have written a story. I saw a camera for the first time. Now that I am learning to use it, maybe I will become a movie maker in Bombay.”

“The films will be sent to festivals in an attempt to reach out to an audience that can help these children by offering internships or finding sponsors for their studies. These films will reach people who buy sex… and hit their conscience. It is part of our Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex campaign,” said Apne Aap founder Ruchira Gupta.

“The workshop is helping children from red-light areas learn skills and gain self-confidence,” she said, appreciating the work done by Apne Aap director Aseem Asha.

The French Cultural Centre has collaborated with Apne Aap to empower 90 children from red-light areas of Delhi, Forbesgunge, Bihar and Calcutta through video, theatre and dance workshops.


Fifty children from diverse backgrounds have joined hands for a cause that is not just topical but extremely urgent: human trafficking. Their aim: create awareness. Method: flashmob.

The event, Suno Meri Aawaaz, will be part of the One Billion Rising campaign founded by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler that started in 2013 and encouraged women and men everywhere to “Rise, release, dance” for justice.

Suno Meri Aawaaz will see 50 children, some from the city’s red-light areas and many from mainstream schools like La Martiniere for Girls, Loreto House and Modern High School for Girls, dancing together at Quest Mall, Prinsep Ghat, Victoria Memorial and Park Street on Sunday afternoon.

“We want to hit all the spots with a heavy Sunday crowd,” said Vasvi Kejriwal, a student at International School Bangalore.

Vasvi and mother Leena, a photographer and installation artist, have collaborated with Apne Aap Women Worldwide, Basha and Hamari Muskan for the flash mob.

Steps choreographed by Satyaki Saha have been put up on the event’s Facebook page so that those seeking to participate can rehearse them.