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This Christmas, Good News Mission of India Played Santa for Sonagachi Workers

Written by Puja Saraf

Jesus Christ always preached about spreading happiness and being kind to others. This Christmas, Kolkata based Good News Mission of India became Santa for Sonagachi workers and distributed blankets and other essential items to keep them warm in this chilling winter.

While talking about the hardships of the workers the founder of Non-Profit Organization ( NGO ) Bishop Dr. Srikanata Das briefed The Optimist News on how they are slowly trying to improve the living conditions of the residents of Sonagachi. Being the Vice President of Anti Trafficking for the State he raised the concern of the well being of the workers and also of child labour.

Founder of NGO, Bishop Dr. Srikanata Das

There are around 25,000 sex workers in Sonagachi who are victims of domestic violence, or are abandoned by their families. Mostly uneducated and belonging to poor families, they had to opt for being a sex worker for their survival.

“The blankets made the ladies so happy and that they requested us if their kids could get proper education or nutrition as well. Our NGO works solely on local funds as of now and whatever money I earn from photography is also invested in the organisation for the betterment of kids and ladies,” said Dr. Das.

The Blanket Distribution organized by Good News Mission

Seeing people sleeping on footpaths, and children suffering from diseases due to lack of nutrients made Bishop decide to do something for them in 1994. He completed studies in Dignity of Ministry which eventually taught him how to run a successful NGO. Over the years pocket centers have been launched in various districts and cities of West Bengal with one leader in each.

Pandemic has had hit the sex workers the most by living zero space for earning. To extend help, the NGO provided food packets to them and from October they started distributing blankets to those living on the footpath.

Children at Good News Mission of India

“Being the vice-president of anti-trafficking for the state I make sure that no one is forced to take up sexual work. We register names of all workers and through enquiry find out if anyone has been forced into this work. In such cases the first thing we do is to escort her back to her family,” informed, Dr. Das.

Education is the first step the Good News Mission of India is working on for the ladies by making them learn how to write their names.

“Education is our priority for the ladies. We are slowly working on making them realise their inherent talent in craft and utilise it by making candles, blankets, and more and sell them. After that, we will ask them which sort of living they are enjoying and wish to continue with,” explained the founder of the NGO.

Women and senior workers celebrating Christmas

Child labour is another big issue the Good News Mission of India works on. Rescuing kids and guiding them towards education is their mission for a better future.

“Seeing a kid working at stalls we first try to reach out to the parents and make them understand the importance of education and also about hidden qualities the children might have which can be developed for a better future. Many kids work in tobacco stalls too where the smoke is highly hazardous. The parents need to understand the importance of health of their children at the earliest,” said Srikanta.

‘Let’s promise to spread only love to make humankind what it should be’ – is what Bishop Dr. Srikanta Das wishes this Christmas

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Puja Saraf

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