Holly Godwin, 2L
New Light India
Protection of Children
It is still hard to believe I am in India. I arrived on Tuesday and just finished my first week of work. The great people at New Light and the woman at my guesthouse watch out for and protect me, especially from this summer heat. It has been in the 40s. I did a conversion and saw it was 104, and with the humidity, it feels around 116! Sweating has become a new pastime of mine and so has drinking water. People from New Light have been picking me up and taking me to the Center, to protect me from the heat and to help me learn my way around the city. Today I graduated and found my own way.
New Light works on behalf of at-risk children – many whose parents are involved in the sex trade. To get to New Light, you have to walk through brothels and up stairwells. During the day, there are dogs, goats, and people in the narrow alley – it is busy but not by India standards. Nighttime is a completely different story. All of the sights, noises, and smells quickly overwhelmed me. The narrow alley is now teaming with people – standing, sittings, and walking. Somehow, I end up in front of the teacher. The teacher begins to search for a taxi. I am not sure how I am going to get through the maze of people, cars, dogs, goats… when a boy (maybe 6 or 7 years old) looks back, smiles at me, takes my hand, and leads the way.
New Light provides the necessities – a place to stay, food to eat, and clothes to wear, but it is more than that. They provide a place where the kids are safe, safe to be kids. During my first week, I have mostly been working with the children. The kids are participating in an arts workshop – drama, music, ceramics, and painting. I will start different law projects next week, but it is important to see who benefits when people within the community start caring. The children speak Bengali and know only a few English phrases. This makes communicating a bit tricky, but I feel the kids know what I am saying and they talk like I understand everything they are saying. I am called, “Auntie” out of respect of my age. I love it. Auntie look. Auntie sit. Auntie. Auntie. Auntie.
I have realized how little I know about sex trafficking and the actual reality of its effects. I’ve studied and researched, but that only gets one so far. Actually experiencing and seeing the effects on people’s lives is humbling to say the least.
– Holly Godwin, 6/13/12