The Destiny Foundation helps survivors from four Calcutta shelters and red light districts, training and providing fairly paid long-term employment sewing unique fabric bags and home decor products, in a supportive, dignified environment. Peer support, counseling, and leadership development, as well as teaching the survivors about human rights and womens rights, are an important aspect of this program.
Destiny was originally started as program of Made By Survivors (through a gift from the Clayton family in memory of William 'Pop Pop' Clayton) but we are proud to say that the center has since become independent and self-sustaining, under the leadership of Director and co-founder Smarita Sengupta. Smarita is a gifted social worker with a passion for social enterprise.
What we love about his partner is the increasing leadership of the survivors. In this third year of operations, the survivors are taking more and more responsibility for self-management. Team captains such as Sonali and Mitu are responsible for quality control and dividing the work among the team. Survivors often solve production problems through their ingenuity and creativity, continually creating new designs and improving existing products. Several of the Destiny girls have expressed interest in one day managing the center, or managing similar projects for other girls like themselves.
Many of the15 survivors currently employed at Destiny were rescued from brothels in Mumbai and Calcutta, then sent to live at local shelters such as Sanlaap and All Bengal Womens Union. Through their work at Destiny, these survivors have been able to leave the shelter and move out on their own, supporting themselves independently for the first time in their lives. Explains Sonali, "Now that I am earning my own salary, the male members of my family can no longer tell me what to do. I get to decide when to work, when to do housework, when to sleep or go to the movies"
Other Destiny survivors are adults or older adolescents from the Kidderpore red light area. These survivors came to us from our partner agency Apne Aap, which runs a center in Kidderpore. Several adult women who were trafficked in their early teens, and in forced prostitution for two decades, have been able to leave the flesh trade and support their children through their work at Destiny.
You can support the Destiny survivors by donating, or by buying one of their cool products. Learn more about Destiny Foundation at their website