The Lakharmath Community Development Project started in December 1995 in a small red light pocket of South Kolkata. The majority of the women working in this area had migrated from Murshidabad and Birbhum district. Some were introduced to the flesh trade due to poverty while others were coerced, under the pretext of gaining meaningful employment. The Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) were forced to pay 50% of their earnings to the landlord and remained trapped with little hope of a better life for themselves or their children.
EMC intervened primarily to provide a safe environment for the children of the CSWs. These children were often neglected by their own families, as their mothers had little time to devote to family life, and ostracized from the wider community, who viewed them as a potential threat. In most cases the children’s births were not registered, so they would lack basic identity documents and those who did go to school would often be removed after a few years due to financial constraints.
The Project soon became a hub of the community, providing non-formal education, promoting school admission and attendance and giving after school support and extra curricular opportunities in art and craft and dance. Nutritional support and care was provided to children under 6 years of age under the Government ICDS programme. Regular awareness programmes raised the profile of relevant issues such as HIV / AIDS with the mothers and provided a platform through which knowledge and education could yield transformation.
Positive change is tangible in Lakhermath. Now there is an 85% reduction in CSW operations as women have changed their professions to cooking, maid-servants and caregivers. Not a single child has followed their mother into the flesh trade! Every child has a birth certificate; every child is immunized. Births no longer take place at home and the average birth weight has improved significantly. The majority of the children now attend formal schools some have established themselves well in life securing jobs as health workers in the Municipal Corporation, entrepreneurs and one as a Professor in the university of North Bengal.
EMC continues to have a presence in Lakharmath, offering support, encouragement and love in action.
Holistic Care for Street and Slum Children.Read More
Rescue, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Homeless, Abandoned, Trafficked, Physical and Mentally Vulnerable Children and Youth.Read More
(Infected & Affrected children, Men and Women) Intervention and Care of Children, Men and Women infected and affected with HIV/AIDS.Read More
Holistic Care of Children, Health and Education Support for Adolescent Girls and Adult Literacy for Mothers from the slums.Read More