I am fundraising to help 12 Mumbai red-light area girls travel with their play, Lal Batti Express!

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31st March 2016
Dear Supporters,
I am Ibrahim, a Milaap Open Campaigns Fellow in Mumbai. The daughters from Kranti or Krantikaris, as they like to call themselves recently performed the play ‘Lal Batti Express’ at the renowned Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai. I was fortunate enough to go there and see them perform.

Even though I knew what the play’s theme was beforehand, I was still awestruck by their performance. But, more than that I was appalled to learn the truth about the lives of sex workers in Kamathipura.

The play began with each of the girls acting out the likes and dislikes of any normal eight-year-old girl. It then went out to show a girl’s teenage years how she experiences life and falls in love. The scene then darkened to show how unknowingly the girl was lured into trafficking. It took the viewers through the horrors of Kamithipura’s sex worker’s life and how they were abused horribly. The play mocked the elite who would solicit these women’s services regularly and still disrespect them.

The play then further shed light on the daughters of sex workers and their lives. It talked about their helplessness when they were abused by members of their own family, and their plight when they were refused admission into a good school. Worse of all - their dreams were crushed when the NGOs that come to “rescue” them would offer only tailoring and cooking as career opportunities. This is where Kranti comes into the picture. At this point, the play has a beautiful scene wherein the girls bound by ropes struggle at first but then finally manage to free themselves.

One could not help but applaud the maturity with which these young girls performed in the play. This should not come as a surprise, after all, they have seen the world, literally! Their U.S. trip was a resounding success where they touched many lives while spreading the stories about the lives of sex workers in Kamathipura. However, the Krantikaris have no plans of sitting still. They will be performing this play in various parts of India, wherever they can get a chance.

We wish Kranti and the girls all the luck in spreading the message and fulfilling their dream of creating a new generation of changemakers.


Who We Are:
We are Krantikaris – that’s Hindi for "Revolutionaries" – from Kranti, an NGO that empowers girls from Mumbai's red-light areas to become agents of social change. We are the daughters of sex workers. We are girls who were trafficked. We are girls who were born and raised in Kamathipura, Asia’s most infamous red-light area. We are young women, ages 13-19, with big dreams and big plans to change the world.

Change Through Theatre:
In 2013, we Krantikaris wrote, directed, and performed a play about our lives. By sharing our stories, we wanted to raise awareness of sex workers’ lives and their daily struggles. It turns out our play was so awesome we were asked to perform it in over 50 venues in front of over 100K+ people! Our play helped change thousands of people’s mindsets about us, our moms, and our community. Now, we want to share our stories with the world!

Our Next Play:
Laal Batti Express (Red-Light Express) is a three-segment depiction of our past, present and future – our mothers' work, our childhoods in brothels and NGOs, the discrimination we’ve faced, the struggles we’ve overcome, and our hopes and dreams for the future.  The title “Lal Batti Express,” means “red-light” as in Kamathipura but also as in a VIP “red-light” – the world might not see or treat us as VIPs, but the title (as well as the train component) symbolizes our personal journey from being the most marginalized of society to teaching mainstream society through theater.

Why We Travel:
We can’t change the world without seeing it first! We grew up in Kamathipura, and the red-light area was our entire world. After coming to Kranti, we traveled for the first time in our lives; our world grew to include all of Mumbai and slowly India. Now, we want to expand our world beyond India. While traveling will broaden our worldviews, our personal stories will broaden our audiences’ worldview. We know that others need inspiration to make change too - this is why we'll be bringing our community to theirs, through the magic of theatre!

The Grand Plan:
Our four-week itinerary, in addition to our performances, includes visits to NGOs working on girls’ and women’s rights, sex workers’ groups, universities, schools, prisons, and other organizations working with marginalized youth. Starting from 13 May, we plan to travel to New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

How to Help:
All of our transportation, food, lodging and sightseeing will be donated by individuals and companies in the USA. But we are fundraising for the things that people can’t donate: visa applications, theater props, venue fees, etc.

Will you support the Lal Batti Express to carry our voices all the way from Mumbai’s red-light area to stages in the US??

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Rs.78,156
raised of Rs.100,000 goal

39 Supporters

0 Days to go

Payment options: Online, cheque/cash pickups

Payment options: Card/PayPal

Beneficiary: Kranti info_outline

Supporters (39)

VK
VASANTHA donated Rs.1,000

I am sorry..wish u good luck..

RB
ravi donated $100
S
sairam donated Rs.2,500