Over 10,000 sex workers live and work in Kolkata’s red-light district in India. 40% of them are children. When the documentary Born Into Brothels (directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski) won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2005 and exposed the world to both the troubling circumstances for children from Kolkata’s red-light district, as well as the incredible potential to affect change for them, the filmmakers knew they had an opportunity to leverage their success and build a project that would make a lasting impact for the impoverished community. The result of their vision: the Hope House and a partnership with Head First Development – an organization that raises support for charitable projects in regions where poverty cripples communities.
Hope House is a safe, fun, and productive campus where young girls from Kolkata’s red-light district will come to live and grow into empowered, autonomous women. It sits on a beautiful property with mango trees, open fields, and a pond. The vision is to create generational change by breaking the cycles of poverty that force young women to sell their bodies, and by doing so allow them to alter the course of their future, their family’s future, and in time, the whole community’s future. What’s more, Head First Development has worked with local partners to operate a free health clinic, providing much needed services to the community, as well as a small business Laundromat that hires women from the neighborhood, providing them with a safe alternative to making money on the streets. While the clinic and Laundromat remain modest in size, these two auxiliary Hope projects have incredible potential for broader impact within the community.
We are VERY excited that our AWB grant will be put towards the completion of Hope House. To learn more about the project, click here. You can also follow Hope House on Facebook (here), and Head First Development (here).