A walk down the dark lanes of Kalighat way back in 2000 changed the life of Ms. Urmi Basu, the Founder of New Light, forever. Fifteen years ago Urmi combined her passion for gender equality and her background in social work, to join forces with two young members of the Kalighat community, Krishna Mondal and Shib Narayan Bhattacharjee. Together, using Rs 10000 or $200 and no blue print for success, they set up New Light.
Activism runs in Basu's family; her grandfather was a doctor who set up a school for dalit children (India's untouchable caste) in his own home. Urmi says her family "always challenged everything that's traditional in India."
With an estimated 40,000 new trafficked sex workers in the city each year, it's no small task. But Urmi is a woman of great determination and so is the team at New Light, which has silently but consistently, created a safe haven for the children, the women, the survivors of trafficking and people living with HIV/AIDS with bare minimum infrastructure and limited resources.
New Light is an example of what is possible to create on hope, love and compassion.