Commemorating the anniversary of the date one is born, birthdays often mark milestones and accomplishments for individuals who set goals to be achieved as they near completing another year of their lives.
For those from privileged backgrounds, birthdays have more or less been all about cakes, presents, parties and celebrations. But for a larger population in India, it only marks completion of yet another year of survival—in terms of poverty, hunger, lacking of proper living spaces, unavailability of basic amenities and human trafficking.
Understanding the huge disparity of wealth, privileges and opportunities that exists in India, one young woman from Kolkata, heading towards her 30th birthday, decided to mark the occasion in a way that would change the lives of 30 young girls.
Trina Datta is an MBA graduate from the Indian School of Business (ISB) and currently works in Nigeria.
Having seen her parents feed street children on her birthdays and her aunt Yassmen distribute blankets to those in need on special occasions while growing up, Trina had always been sensitive to the world around her and wanted to make a difference in the lives of the downtrodden.
Giving initial wings to her humanitarian ambitions were her college years when Trina had volunteered with various rehabilitation centres that worked with victims of human trafficking.
“I know exactly how much goes into the rehabilitation of each person—the counselling, the bringing back of self-worth and the obstacles created by their lack of skills, lack of ambition, and added social stigma,” says Trina to The Better India.
But the moment that would prove life changing for Trina had been when she decided to helm a fundraiser supported by the non-profit organisation Small Change, which gives one the opportunity to celebrate a special occasion by raising funds for a cause or an NGO listed on the organisation’s portal.
“When I came across this feature, I felt that there was no better way to celebrate my birthday than do something for a cause I have always wanted to partake in, but done not much so far. I have everything I need, so I didn’t exactly have a list of gifts that I’d wished for. But with a wide network of friends and colleagues with more than enough disposable income, I wondered why not? It did seem a little self-important at first, and I hesitated, because it was presumptuous to assume people were planning gifts for me. But that risk was a small price to pay for potentially transforming the lives of 30 girls,” she explains.
“So instead of receiving gifts this year from her friends and family, she was inspired to raise funds for iPartner India‘s project in collaboration with Rahat, a grassroots NGO that would provide IT training for 30 victims of human trafficking and help them find jobs,” says Sara Adhikari, Founder Trustee of Small Change.
Rahat has been relentlessly working to help rehabilitate girls trafficked from Bangladesh and Nepal, who often end up in the poverty-stricken hinterlands of Bihar, where the organisation operates from and in last three years, over 50,000 have been prevented from being smuggled into India through border crossings. The organisation now protects about 1,000 girls who have returned to their homes and ensure that they don’t go missing again, get sold by their families or are kidnapped by traffickers.
The original fundraiser includes 60 girls who will be part of a one-year IT diploma course that will help them find jobs, financial security and independence.
“Trina is funding 30 girls at ₹7,000 each with a target of ₹ 2.10 lakh and we are glad to inform that her fundraiser has not only met the target goal but has managed to collect a total of ₹2,25,622 from 30 donors,” adds Sara happily.
And guess what, Trina turns 30 today and what a considerate way to commemorate one’s birthday that will now gift skills to 30 young women!
We wish her a great year ahead and hope that her humanitarian deed would inspire more people across the country.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)