How I found my true calling

Most of my friends are from the engineering, finance or medical fields. On my Kolkata trip in March this year, I made a new friend who is into something slightly different.

I convinced her to share her story. So here goes – a GUEST POST from Priyanka.

Sanlaap happened to me when I was feeling professionally insatiable.

I had worked hard to get my M.A. degree in Criminology from UK and when I returned to India in 2011, I was stuck working with an NGO that was more into solid waste management than into realizing its claims of working for the problems of the rag pickers and their addictions.

Totally frustrated I was looking for a change and came across Sanlaap in mid 2012.

Sanlaap proved to be the place where both my degree and my experience in the UK could be put to use. I had worked previously with child drug addicts, women in conflict with law, victims of domestic violence and other hate crimes and children facing various kinds of abuse at home.

The organization works with victims of sex trafficking and sexual abuse.

A normal day for me at the shelter home comprises of providing emotional and practical support to the girls, talking and interacting with them as much as possible, providing intervention whenever there is a conflict between two inmates or a group of inmates, etc.

I get to go on rescue operations with the cops, provide practical and emotional support to the survivors of sexual violence and above all feel that zing I have always searched for in my professional endeavours.

I remember the first time I went on a rescue operation to Sonagachi (the famous red light area of Kolkata), I was too freaked out that we would be accosted by the goons protecting the “treasures” of their trade. But the operation went smooth and we were able to rescue not one but two minor girls. I’ll never forget the look on the girls’ faces when they realized that they would be saved and that their days of rape and torture had hopefully come to an end.

From the time I was little, I wanted to do something different, something that gave me immense pleasure rather than societal approval.

True, my job may not pay me as well as that of say an engineer or a MBA but the satisfaction is truly overwhelming. The thrill of going on raids or a rescue operation and the gratification of helping a survivor overcome her trauma is indeed unmeasurable.

No wonder I love what I do. I truly am getting to make a difference in my small way.

Here I would like to give a message to a certain category of people in our society. Men, please stop buying or forcing sex. Destroying her dignity is just the tip. But breaking her complete identity and the resultant trauma she undergoes her entire life is something you will perhaps never understand.

Thank you Priyanka for sharing. I for one, admire what you do.