Kolkata: A group of around 50 girls living with their prostitute mothers in red-light areas of Sonagachi and Munshigunj here are these days busy writing scripts and narrating their stories before the camera as they turn film makers.
These children were a part of a four-day video making workshop last week with award-winning director Aseem Asha, who taught them how to tell a story in a simple yet effective way before the world using the power of a camera. “I want to study and help my mother. I want to show the world how difficult the life of my mother is in my video,” a 14-year-old participant said.
Her shooting is over and she is busy in post-production work under expert guidance.
Another 8-year-old girl said, “I am writing a story for the first time in my life. I also saw a camera for the first time. Now I am learning to use it and may be I will become a movie maker in Bombay, when I grow up.” Anti-trafficking organisation ‘Apne Aap Women Worldwide' has collaborated with Alliance Francaise, the French Cultural Centre, to empower these children by helping them to speak out about their sufferings and problems.
“After years of continued oppression and exploitation in red-light areas these children lose their voice and also the hope of a bright future. By giving them the skills to tell their stories using videos, we give them a voice,” Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap NGO, told PTI.
The activist exuded hope that when other children from red-light areas will see these documentaries made by those among them, their consciousness will also change.
In the films, the girls talk about how their mothers suffer in brothels due to the system of prostitution, how everyone wakes up late in the day, how the poor children are forced to do household chores as their mothers are busy. “They also talk about their hopes, dreams and aspirations to become a part of the mainstream society and free themselves and their mothers from the evil tentacles of brothels,” Gupta said.
Organisers of the French film festival, held in various parts of India, have already agreed to screen some of the videos.
The activist said they will take them to other festival screenings as well.
“As an anti-sex-trafficking organisation, we are constantly trying to break the silence. We hope society will be inspired by the children and support their dreams,” she said.
They are also conducting similar video, theatre and dance workshops in red-light areas of Delhi and Forbesganj in Bihar. “We are proud and thrilled to hear the dreams and see the talent of the children. We hope all their dreams come true and their education paves the way for every success,” said Stepfane Amalir, director of Alliance Francaise, in Kolkata.