With a wide grin and a spark in their eyes they flocked to the stage. Each step which was slack in the past, was now replaced by a brisk stride, as they sported crisp white tees that read: “Drumming gives us a sense of freedom, dancing empowers us and acting allows self expression.”
Even in their self-disciplined manner they seemed content — their past lives left behind. The past week of their life standing out — as a beautiful memory. They were the 60 survivors of Human Trafficking aged between 11 and 18. They had all seen the dark, ugly side of the world, even before their life had reached the bright and colorful spring phase of existence.
The stage of their dreams was set on December 22, 6.30pm onwards at the Spine Area in City Center, New Town where Expression through Rhythm 2011 was hosted where they played the drums, sang, danced and put up a play. The performance worked as the flag bearer of their passionate dreams.
Laura Price an American social activist and Tanmoy Bose & Taal Tantra had organized a series of creative workshop on expressive art — Restoration of Innocence to introduce these young ones from seven different NGO's, Kolkata Sanved, Sanlaap, New Light, Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan, Save the Children, Iccha and All Bengal Woman’s Union to the brighter aspects of life. The American Center Kolkata supported this initiative.
“Some of them are better than regular school going children,” said Usha Ganguli, the famous face of the theatre world. “I am doing my bit to improve the society we live in. “These little children deserve better lives and it makes me proud to make them smile for a week at least,” said Tanmoy Bose.
These young survivors against sex trafficking from participating city NGOs —took classes in drumming, dancing, acting and boxing. These classes were conducted by — table maestro Tanmoy Bose & Taal Tantra, veteran theatrician Usha Ganguli and India’s first woman boxing coach Razia Shabnam. Each expert in their own field interacted with the children as they shared their kaleidoscopic experiences, guiding them through the various activities. The joy of the teachers was akin to that of the learners — the former doing their bit to change the world and the latter, being the change.
It was indeed a vacation for the children as they ran to the location of the workshop every day. They went in each morning, with a spring in their step, running in with glee. Laura Price who is the soul behind this initiative and also founding member of Blossomy.org has been conducting this annual workshop for the past three years in the city to give these otherwise underprivileged children an opportunity to explore their creative talents. She believes, “This one week of their life should be their much awaited and most well deserved vacation.”
The result of the workshop was obvious as one power packed performance followed the other at City Centre New Town on the wintry evening of December 22.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “Violence against women and girls is also an issue of international human rights and national security…We need everyone's involvement – boys and men, faith and community leaders, youth, and people at all levels of society are critical to solving such a widespread pandemic of violence. This message inspired me to write this piece.