Report from the Field…New Delhi
September 2013
Each time we travel to India to spend time with our partners programs, we get a deeper understanding of what a complex place it is.   At times it is hard to digest what goes on with haunting regularity–rape, sex trafficking, child labor, honor burnings… Fortunately though, there are those who refuse to accept these events as fate or future. Our partner programs represent the very meaning of positive thinking and unfettered determination.  It is our pleasure to report that after visiting this Sept, they are continuing to make huge strides in building better futures.
trapped into a life of sex slavery on GB Road–Delhi’s Red Light District
On this trip, we started to connect some of the dots between the programs we work with.
When the TARA program in Delhi opened up its second shelter for Tots (younger children under age 6),  we learned that some of the children were coming from Delhi’s renowned red light district.  The children we referred to TARA by a small organization, run by a courageous woman named Lalitha.  We wanted to know more about the children our donors were helping, to get a richer understanding for the need for shelters like TARA.

Lalitha and GoPhil traveler Anne Elgerd
Pascal Fautrat, Founder  of TARA Homes arranged for us to have a visit–to learn first hand about some of the mothers of the Tots and to explore this hidden and taboo area of Delhi housing hundreds of women trapped in sexual slavery.  Women, oftentimes girls,  are lured from rural villages with a promise for a better life in the city. Once there, they are forced into a lifetime of prostitution, earning only a few dollars per customer (most of which they owe back to their mafia pimps). When they get pregnant, their young ones remain at their bedsides while they work.  Girls as young as 4 or 5 are often pulled into the vicious cycle.  But as we so often see, just when you think a situation cannot get worse, we meet someone offering everything they have for the benefit of others.  Lalitha is one such devoted change-maker, running a shelter for the children of the women of GB Road–offering them an alternative to sitting on their mother’s bedsides. Their days are now filled with learning, dance and play. 
We spent two precious hours with Lalitha, listening to how she delicately earned the right to enter the worlds of the hidden women of GB road–a journey that  that has now spanned 20 years.  She acquired their trust slowly by lending an ear to their stories, by offering them access to some preventative health care, and now by offering their children a chance at a better life.   Of course, she does this all of this on a shoe string(or more like a thread). We left Lalitha with more questions than we had when we arrived, and we promised to return.  Sex trafficking is dangerous and complex business and the path to assisting a small project like this one will take a delicate approach and time for the needed trust to develop.
digging deeper at TARA
Jaan and Sidhu are college bound!!
GoPhil’s Lind DeWolf and John O’Connor running workshops
Back at the TARA Shelters and alongside Founder Pascal and key staff, we began a process that we will be applying at all of our partner programs.  Conducting in-depth assessments (called SWOT analysis), we explore a program’s strengths and weaknesses in order to gain a “snapshot” of the health of the program overall. GoPhil has been learning alongside John O’Connor, a consultant in the field of Organizational Development, and with John’s help, our sessions revealed that some TARA’s biggest challenges involve managing a high- stress environment.  The children come from difficult set of backgrounds and the staff at TARA seldom have days or nights without cell phones ringing off the hook.  Together we explored new processes that could be put in place to ease the strain.  Our sessions also highlighted all that was going exceptionally well– their devotion to one-on-one attention to the children and their family-like environment are the keys to their success.  We are proud to report that the two older TARA boys are now attending college.
dreams within reach
Thanks to a TARA art donor, GoPhil’s Linda DeWolf ran a magical art workshop, during which the TARA children were asked to explore what they loved–about themselves and the world around them.  Beautiful images and writings emerged from this creative session.  Despite the hardships they have been dealt in life, the children at TARA are full of hope, appreciation, and their artwork reveals that they believe their dreams are within reach…
what is still needed at TARA
Covering rent expenses for the Tots continues to weigh heavily on the budget as the shelter needed to be rented in a safer, more secure area (thus costing more).
$45 a month covers the rent for 1 tot each month.
interesting in helping a tot?
help us Invest in the future:
We are committed to raising $15,000 this fiscal year for our ” Needed Knowledge” program. Through a series of on-site assessments conducted over a period of time with our partner programs, we are able to identify the skills and knowledge needed to scale and develop on a healthy trajectory. Once the core competencies and “needed knowledge” are identified, a customized implementation plan is put in place and progress is evaluated and measured over time.
Thanks to all of you who continue to make this important work possible…