Quarter Highlights (Jan-Mar 2019)
Project – Field Research & Relationship Building
Lohri Celebration at GB Road
On 13th January 2019, loaded with happiness, love, popcorn, jaggery, and peanuts, Kat-Katha family danced to the beats of dhol around the pious fire of lohri. Holding hands, we offered prayers to bring peace and prosperity in the lives of women and children trapped in brothels. It was a joyful beginning of the new-year for all of us. We express our special thanks to all the volunteers and Delhi Police for supporting us in organising the event with great fervour. Such rare events offer a platform to all the women from different to come together and transform GB Road into a street of love.
Volunteer Recruitment 2019
2018 had been a great year for Kat-Katha with new and exciting opportunities to serve our women and children. With the vision to channelize our energy in the right direction and to execute our projects more efficiently, the core team planned to recruit more volunteers for different projects like field, empowerment, academics, sports, and others. Kat-Katha enrolled more than 20 volunteers in the three recruitment drives held on 25th Jan, 8th Feb & 16th March 2019 respectively. With all the love and support, we now plan to expand and strengthen our roots. The only purpose is to support Didis and kids with a better approach and make GB Road “A Street of Love”.
Film Screening & Anniversary Celebration
On 18th Feb 2019, Kat-Katha’s founder, Gitanjali Babbar celebrated her first wedding anniversary in a way that won’t be forgotten anytime soon on GB Road, Delhi’s largest red light area. For the first time in the history of GB Road, a social gathering like this took place where more than 200 women and children from different brothels came together under one roof to celebrate the bond of love and companionship. Gitanjali shared her special day with the women whom she lovingly calls Didis, offering them a good time filled with enjoyment and gratification.
The celebration added a little more joy and freedom to the lives of these women and children who turned up to bless the couple, breaking the shackles that bind their ankles everyday. The event was followed by a special screening of short film called “Bhukkad: The Hungry One” created by FCB Ulka & The Open Door Project, supported by The Millennium Schools. Founder of Educomp solutions, Mr. Shantanu Prakash and FCB Ulka’s CCO, Ms. Swati Bhattacharya supported and graced the event with their teams.
We are truly grateful to all the staff members and volunteers for their efforts to make this day happen. A big thanks to Laxman uncle for offering his space. It was a day of acceptance, compassion, and oneness for us.
Photography –The Magical Lens
Akshardham Temple Visit on Women’s Day
On 11th March 2019, we celebrated Women’s Day at Akshardham temple. The objective of the day outing was to offer Didis a good time outside of GB Road. More than 10 Didis went out with us to unwind and enjoy the light and water show experience at the temple. Didis visited Swami Narayan’s life exhibition and ate the meals together in the cafeteria. Volunteers escorted Didis to the temple and explained the concepts. Didis also took the boat ride and learnt about ancient architecture in the tour.
We would like to thank Mohini Didi for sponsoring the visit. Our Didis had big smiles on their faces and really enjoyed the day.
Project – Bridge School (Activity Center) on GB Road
Snehalaya Learning Journey (Ahmednagar, Pune)
From 29th to 31st Jan 2019, Kat-Katha team embarked on a life-changing learning journey. 13 people including staff members, children, and didis travelled to Snehalaya (an NGO) in Ahmednagar, a town and district in the agricultural region of Maharashtra, India. The NGO provides sup-port for women, children and LGBT communities, who have been affected by HIV and AIDS, trafficking, sexual violence, and poverty.
The team visited Snehalaya School, Medical Centre, Earth Studio, Smile Sanitary Workshop, Community Radio Office to learn about ownership, leadership, and importance of punctuality. The team met Shri Anna Hazare and Girish Bhai and discussed about selfless service and how we should look at the entire world as our family. For more inspiration and learning, Snehalaya team escorted Kat-Katha members to Child line, Old Redlight Area, and Shivgaon (Ahmednagar’s red light district).
After listening to Girish bhai’s empowering thoughts, the team bid adieu to the sacred land of Snehalaya. Kat-Katha feels blessed to have visited the NGO and to have earned the opportunity to learn so much from their values. The team returned inspired to bring much powerful change on GB Road. We express our highest gratitude to the PVR Nest and PVR Cinemas for supporting this learning journey for our team. Thank you from the core of our hearts!
TFIx & Teach For India Fellows Collaboration Visit
On 26th Feb 2019, we received a team of 8 members from Teach for India(X) including Ms. Shaheen Mistri, Founder of TFI & Akanksha Foundation. Kat-Katha children greeted the TFI team with warm hugs. The evening started with silence, prayer and gratitude circle, followed by a round of introductions and a debriefing session on Kat-Katha which included our founder’s journey, our work, challenges, and introduction to staff members and their roles.
Later, Teach for India, an NGO working towards eliminating inequalities in Education in India, collaborated with us on this initiative and decided to send some of their fellows to our center. The fellows were quite intrigued by the story of how we had fostered this small yet loving family in Delhi’s biggest red-light district. Taking the discussion forward, we took the TFI team for a road visit till Brothel No.71, explaining to them our vision of making GB road a street of love. To make the experience more real for them, we organized a visit to the brothels where they got a chance to interact with our Didis and their children.
To end with, we had planned an interactive session between the fellows and our volunteers for each to learn from the other’s diverse experience. The event came to a close with this and the fellows departed, taking a part of our story and leaving a part of their own.
National Science Center Visit
On 10th Feb 2019, 10 students and 4 volunteers from Kat-Katha visited science museum as an exposure activity. The kids learned various scientific concepts and developments from Stone Age to 21st Century.
In the end kids were provided with snacks and science kits. Next day, the kids had a discussion circle about their learning at the science center.
Jashn-e-Kalam LIVE Storytelling
On a beautiful Sunday morning of 10th March 2019, Jashn-E-Qalam Storytelling kindled stories, smiles and sunshine at our activity centre on GB Road. Eminent television and theater artists Shashwita Sharma & Vicky Ahuja narrated the enchanting stories of Munshi Premchand and Ismat Chughtai to our children, women, and volunteers. It was an incredible experience for us to witness the magic of storytelling.We were truly moved by the art. Such events add to the confidence of our children as they have recently started their theater classes in our activity center.
Celebrating Colors of Love
On 19th March 2019, Kat-Katha children, volunteers, staff members came together to celebrate the festival of Holi in the activity centre. Kids played Holi for more than 4 hours and painted the school with colors. Kat-Katha also welcomed, Ayesha Siddiqui, an artist and a survivor of Human trafficking from Bangladesh to join in the celebration and narrate her powerful story to inspire the team.
Project – Empower Projects (Alternate Livelihood & Rehabilitation)
Maitri Meals Project Updates
It had been six months, since Maitri Meals began its second innings with PVR & Art of play. Maitri Meals has blossomed beautifully in past few months with the hard word of our Project Lead Sunidhi and her powerful team. It was always our dream to have our own house and a kitchen where more and more Didis could come together and support each other to lead a happy life of their own choice. In Maitri Meals, the dream is coming true. From 2 Didis starting the kitchen, we now have 5 women working full time in the project and preparing 150 meals a day. Latest to our team are Radha Didi and Shamim Didi who joined us in January. The good news is that the Didis have now started taking Literacy classes for English language basics. They are now becoming capable to read and write. Also, Kat-Katha is helping them in learning computer, marketing and sales, and business planning so that they can become complete entrepreneurs.
Wall Painting Day – Expressing Love With Colors
On 17th March 2019, Maitri Meals kitchen was painted with colorful fruits and vegetables. Didis, kids, volunteers, and our entire team came together to paint the walls and dwell together in oneness.
We thank Lahar Mehta (Lahar Design Studio) and Areen Attari for transforming the Maitri space into a magical kitchen garden !! Your thoughts, your ideas, your art, and your passion always inspires us. Gratitude for filling colours in our dreams and blessing the space with your love. Also, our Didis made delicious Gujiyas for Holi Celebration!!
SUCCESS STORIES – HIGHLIGHTS
PNB Unsung Heroes Award – Republic Day
On the occasion of our 70th Republic Day, Gitanjali Babbar and our Maitri Meals didis were felicitated by Punjab National Bank Unsung Heroes Award. PNB staff pledged with Kat-Katha to respect and support trafficked women living in brothels of GB Road.
Talk at Delhi School of Business Economics
On 7th March 2019, to commemorate International Women’s Day, Department of Business Economics invited Gitanjali Babbar (Founder, Kat-Katha) for an address to MBA Students. A gathering of over 100 students, the primary agenda was to introduce them to the journey of Kat-Katha. Suhail (Student at Kat-Katha) and Asmita (Coordinator, Field Research) also accompanied Gitanjali to the session.
The event opened with a visualization activity hosted by Gitanjali and Asmita. The idea behind the exercise was to acquaint the students with the hardships in a sex worker’s life, the minimal choices she is blessed with and the hateful circumstances she is cursed with. The thought-provoking narration touched an emotional chord and left them inquisitive to know more.
Suhail shared his journey of association with Kat-Katha since the days of its inception. He talked about his struggles and how he found his muse in dance through Kat. Today, he manages a dance group called Mystical Movers and maintains his very own YouTube channel. To conclude, Gitanjali addressed the audience, talking about her riveting tale of founding Kat-Katha along with the highs and lows that she had to face. She explained about their vision to present a set of life choices to the women and children living in the brothels of GB road and instill a sense of confidence enabling that choice. As always, our story left a lasting impact on the audience and one of the students joined us as a volunteer right after.
BIG Heroes Big FM
On 8th March 2019, International Women’s Day, Gitanjali along with our Maitri Meals Didis went LIVE on air with Richa Anirudh at 92.7 BIG FM in a show called BIG Heroes. Our Didis visited a radio studio for the first time and spoke LIVE to the people in Delhi, telling them about their life story, the challenges they face and their never-ending inspiration to work more and love more.
Global Action against Poverty (GAP) Event
On 1st Feb 2019, our team traveled to Ahmedabad for GAP (Global Action against Poverty) event. GAP 2019 was held at the Gandhi Ashram, the sacred space of the Mahatma. The theme of this event was ‘Impact Amplified’ with key intentions of actionable outcomes to be produced at the event. The event was organised to amplify the impact of Social Changemakers’ journeys by supporting them with relevant business expertise. Our team had a great interaction with social change leaders like Rakesh Sharma, Ela Bhatt, Tushar Gandhi, Sunil Savara, Manisha Dahad and many more. Our kids performed at the event and our Didis talked about the success of Maitri Meals Project.
American Center Panel Discussion
On 19th March 2019, Gitanjali Babbar was invited to “Light After Darkness”, a panel discussion on human trafficking and challenges to prevent the same. The panel included experts like Roma Debaprata (Founder of STOP), and other eminent social activists. The discussion revolved around the cause of human trafficking and how different organisations are dealing with the global problem. We thank American center for offering us a chance to speak and collaborate to wok together for the eradication of human trafficking. The event was followed with an art gallery exhibition by Ayesha Siddiqui, an artist and trafficking survivor from Bangladesh. Later, Ayesha Siddiqui stayed with Kat-Katha for next three days in Maitri Meals home. She painted the walls and celebrated Holi with the team.
Sunday Guardian Newspaper
On 23rd March 2019, magic of our Bridge School on GB Road featured in Sunday Guardian Newspaper. Read the complete article here –https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/culture/activity-centre-delhis-red-light-district-lends-support-local-kids?fbclid=IwAR2kp3vXprCPSAUDeXvegJ6ndaj7zxfpv8GbI3nsMVwleVcGBnJWBe_RDCY
Hindustan Times Article
On 10th March, pictures clicked by The Magical Lens (A photography group by Kat-Katha’s children) got featured in Hindustan Times. Congratulations Arjun Rathor & Nimish Nimmo photography. We are proud of you. Thank you Danish Raza for writing this interesting and informative article. Read the full article here –
Testimonial – A Roller Coaster Ride
Couple of months back, I started feeling very lost in my job, even though it was challenging and I learnt a lot, I felt disconnected from my heart and did not feel the same passionate for my job as I did in my college days when i used to volunteer.
– Shruti Goel (Operations, Field & Empower Projects)
THANK YOU, WARRIORS!