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$10,000 for 10,000 Women: September Matching Campaign

Check out our Animation Video

Check out our Animation Video

Team 6:8 has been presented with an extraordinary opportunity for our Freedom Bakery. A generous supporter of our battle against the sex trade in Sonagachi has extended a challenge to all Team 6:8 supporters. If we can raise $10,000 in the month of September, they will match your gifts with an additional $10,000 – meaning the Freedom Bakery will receive $20,000.

From today through the entire month of September, every donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to our goal of $10,000. $50 becomes $100, $250 becomes $500, and $500 becomes $1000, all used to build a freedom business that will stand for the women of Sonagachi, and stand against oppression. We have 30 Days to meet the challenge.

This is an ambitious goal, but one that could have a tremendous impact on our ability to quickly kickstart our work here in Kolkata, starting the Freedom bakery to give women liberty from the oppression of the sex trade. For this to happen, we need your help.

You can double your impact for their freedom by sending your gift today. Will you join us?

 

Follow this Link to Give

And Enter Account Designation: SAsia-KFB.001

  • $25 becomes $50 – for Baking supplies
  • $150 becomes $300 – One Month of Training and Education for a former sex worker
  • $500 becomes $1000 – a commercial baking oven
  • $2000 becomes $4000 – one month’s operational expenses

 

Being Born Again in India: by, Joe Pouliot

Monsoon

The storm was raging outside. There was thunder and lightning, and the crazy winds had the rain falling sideways. I had dinner plans with a friend and a couple of local guys, one being a top food critic here in the city. After a couple of texts, my friend was already on his way to the restaurant, which for me was an auto-rickshaw ride and six Metro train stops north. On a good-weather day it would take me about 30 minutes, so I had to get moving. I threw on my poncho and headed out into the storm.

Thankfully, the rain quieted down quickly and the autos were up and running again, so I rode down to the Metro station watching the nightlife re-emerge after the storm. I smiled. With two little kids, I don’t get out too much at night here, but I sat back and really enjoyed taking it all in as I, and four total strangers, cruised down the stretch in our own worlds.

The serenity was short-lived as I approached the Metro station. There was some kind of announcement coming over the loudspeaker (which was just too fast for me to translate!), there were a bunch of people doing a brisk walk/jog towards the train, and there were more police than I had ever remembered seeing before. I smiled again…but more nervous this time. I never know what do in situations like this! So, I shrugged my shoulders and continued my journey.

When I boarded the train, it stayed there for a lot longer than usual. I didn’t think much of it until I saw two policemen with focused stares and extension mirrors, patrolling up, down, and underneath the train. I looked around. No one else seemed too affected by it, so I decided to let it go. And truthfully, that ended up being the least of my problems…

Over the next couple of stops, the train filled up fast. I was slowly pushed to the backside of the train. As more and more people got on, my ability to get to the exit doors was becoming more and more difficult. After four stops, we were packed so tight that if one person moved, we all moved. I couldn’t believe that people were still getting on this train. How was I going to get off? I laughed. I had no idea. I made eye contact with another man who could see I was in deep thought.

“Where are you getting off, sir?” He asked.

“Chandni Chowk.” I answered.

“You have to start now!” He replied with a smile.

I laughed again and began to slowly make my way through the wall of bodies. After many grunts and “sorry’s,” I couldn’t believe it – I had made it! I heard my new friend yell to the people around me that I needed to get off at the next stop. I was thankful. The train began to slow down. I took a breath. I had made it… then the doors opened.

Standing before me were fifteen grown adults ready to fight to get on this train (that was already packed tighter than a can of sardines!). That’s when the rugby scrum began. Unready, I got pushed back on the train. I fell back and felt two people behind me begin to resist and push me back out. We were at a stalemate. Neither side was relenting. The doors were going to close at any moment. Just as I was about to give up and accept that I wasn’t getting off the train, I heard my friend yell to the guy next to me. He put his right hand on my back and pushed. I felt another push from the guys behind me. This was happening. I lowered my shoulder and entered the sea before me. I started low, but only my leg got through. I leaned back and slid past the first couple men. From there it all was a blur. I didn’t feel hands on my back anymore. I just remember my body ending up in incredibly strange positions as I inched my way through. It was dark, uncomfortable and slightly claustrophobic, but I was moving forward towards a small light that I could see. Seconds later, with one last push, I was shot out of the crowd onto my own two feet. I laughed and looked back at what I had just come through… I had truly been re-birthed!

I never got a chance to thank my new friend or the guys who helped get me out. But it didn’t matter. It was just the way things happen here. After six months in this city, in the midst of all the chaos, I’m still struck by how helpful people can be. I am reminded of all the times I’ve seen people who may or may not need help and I am too self-conscious or self-centered to reach out to them. This culture and these people have challenged me in this. And God has truly challenged me in this. We’ve come here to serve and help, and yet somehow, I find myself realizing that I am the one who needs help…

And I am encouraged once again to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Being Born Again in India,

Joe

Top 5 Books on Christian Social Justice: By, Grant Walsh

My Top 5 Best Bet Books on Christian Social Justice Published the Last 5 Years

2014

The Locust Effect, Gary Haugen

The Locust Effect

“The Locust Effect will take you on a gripping journey that will forever change the way you see poverty and leave you with hope that we can help make the poor safe enough to thrive.”

And the best part, all author royalties from the purchase of this book will help fight violence against the poor.

2013

Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live and Die for Bigger Things, Ken Wytsma

Pursuing Justice

I did a pre-release review of the this book on my blog here. I have nothing but glowing things to say about this book and the author. This is my favorite book overall on justice I have read in the past few years.

2012

Making All Things New: God’s Dream for Global Justice, R. York Moore

Making All Things New: God’s Dream for Global Justice

“Often this world seems like a nightmare. Human trafficking, young girls trapped in brothels, child soldiers forced to become killers, unchecked plagues and diseases, economic injustice and the oppression of the poor. Millions around the world are trapped in this nightmare, and we may feel helpless to do anything about it.

But God has a dream. York Moore paints a vivid picture of how the dream of God is breaking into history to make all things new.”

2011

Justice in Love, Nicholas Wolterstorff

Justice in Love

Buckle up for this one… its heavy and deep – but needed! “The concepts of love and justice have long been prominent in the moral culture of the West, yet they are often considered to be hopelessly at odds with one another. In this book, acclaimed Christian philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff shows that justice and love are indeed perfectly compatible, and he argues that the commonly perceived tension between them reveals something faulty in our understanding of each.”

2010

Generous Justice, Tim Keller

Generous Justice

Timothy Keller presents the Bible as a fundamental source for promoting justice and compassion for those in need. In this book, he explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. In the end, I wish Keller went as far as Platt did in Radical – but it was close enough. (Note: Platt’s book didn’t make the list because it wasn’t explicitly about justice).

 

The Moments in Between: by, Andrew Shaughnessy

Off the busy street of taxis and buses is Hati Bagan, one of the ten thousand little boroughs of concrete maze and brick and tin alleyways that piece together in lopsided conjunction to form the Kolkata jigsaw. Roads narrow to alleys narrow to shoulder-width passages punctuated by tiny, cell-like rooms. Families cram side by side and do life in close proximity out in the street: a middle-aged man, wearing only his lungi, is covered in suds and scrubs himself in the constantly running water from the street pipe, and the soapy water trickles down the street and over the stones like a painter’s brush slash of pigment, an ebb and tide flowing past the rubber sandaled feet of the old timer, vacant-eyed on his door stoop, and coming to rest at the feet of the little mocha-skinned girl with big eyes and a muddy dress, and their eyes and the water and the suds bound together those disparate and fragile worlds to each other and to the city and to my world – moments pinned in the passing and embedding themselves in our memories.

These are the experiences that come in between the status updates, the videography, and the freedom bakery marketing plans, between playing with brothel kids in Sonagachi and wrestling with questions of kingdom building against the darkness. Not every moment is taken up with writing about sex trafficking and working to build freedom businesses. In between are relationships with the community, explorations in Kolkata, and moments of discovery. Some of these, like my friendship with Rashe, have little or nothing to do with the work in Sonagachi. But my time with Rashe has provided some of the most helpful insights and inside looks into life in Kolkata which I have had thus far.

Tonight in Hati Bagan I am heading to Rashe’s house… The room is small – jam-packed with all the necessities. A single bed set up for two to sleep on top, two underneath. Clothes hang on a line, plastic plates and a small gas stove, bags of rice and a mound of the day’s vegetables, a tiny TV in the corner. All of life happens between these walls, and there is no embarrassment in the wide smiles and nomoshkars from Rashe’s mother and aunt and grandma. They are proud of their domain. And they love their boy.

Rashe’s smile is nervous tonight, a bit embarrassed perhaps at my seeing his small, one-room home which he shares with his family, and at my offer to pay for his ticket to the movie we plan to see in another part of the city. Once again his paycheck has not come in. He does accounts work and bookkeeping for local businesses, but is underage, has no formal qualifications and is of a low caste. For these reasons he is frequently cheated out of fair earned wages. Luxuries and entertainment necessarily come from the small pleasures that can be snatched out of life – 5 rupee cups of cha, individually bought cigarettes (whole packs are too expensive to buy at once), walks to the river and conversations with friends.

We had planned for weeks to go see the movie, and when Rashe’s paycheck failed to materialize he apologized profusely because he couldn’t afford the ticket. When I offered to pay, he briefly got angry, not at me, but simply at his circumstances. Rashe has pride – the good kind that doesn’t get talked about as much, and made him reluctant to take my gift. His defiance seemed small, but it spoke volumes to me of his character and intentions. Life in our line of work abroad often involves a nagging sense of being taken advantage of, and a host of bad experiences with relationships where your wallet and resources are sought, rather than your friendship. To many, the westerner seems to appear to be a naïve, bumbling ATM. That creates a cynicism that can both create a certain street savvy, and create a destructive distrust.

So when someone like Rashe begs for my time, but not my wallet, when he shares his own resources generously and scoffs at my own offers when they are too large, when he invites me into his home, into his family, and into his stories of life lived on the streets of Hati Bagan and Shovabazar, that is refreshing, because it is real. And in the world of crossing cultures, real relationships can be rare and hard to distinguish.

After the movie is over (a summer flick involving giant robots punching each other through skyscrapers) it is late, and Rashe has no less than 27 missed calls from his mother. We make our way back through a shortcut in the slums, dodging yelling drunks, stopping for the inevitable cha break, and talking about India and America. And these hours, these conversations, these lessons have, on the surface, nothing to do with justice, nothing to do with the Gach or with freedom businesses – but they are still worthwhile, these moments in between – for language, for culture and street smarts, for pouring into the life of a young man who could very well impact his community, and for glimpses into lives and alleys and stories so different from mine or yours.