December 2008 Newsletter
Newsletter - 4 December 2008
Walking through the Freeset building one thing is clear, we're not just on about bags. A simple question is sufficient to dispel any doubts: Amader Babsha Kishe (What's our business?). The reply comes from the women quickly and in unison "Mukti! (freedom)".
When Mina & I walk around Sonagacchi (and other red light areas) the same word is on our minds. Mina does most of the talking and I'm there to support her. The women are so used to men strolling past trying to decide which one of them they will choose they are surprised when we want to talk about their freedom. After all, most of them are doing what they have to do to survive and the question of freedom is a luxury they dare not think about. Then they get to hear a freedom story first hand as Mina tells her story again and again to anyone who will listen. It doesn't take long for a few women to gather around Mina as her story unfolds. Then the questions come: "Do you think I could come to Freeset? Will you take me? Do you think I could learn to sew? How much does it pay? What about my children?" Some have the courage to take the first step of visiting Freeset while others can't quite grasp the idea that they could be free just yet. For some, freedom is not a choice that is theirs to make because they don't own their bodies.
On 1st December twenty new women began three months training and started their freedom journey at Freeset. They represent a number of red light areas around the city as word has got around that freedom is on offer. Some of you may be thinking, how can you take on more women during a recession when many are being laid off? We do need to be careful and are minimising the risk. We live as a community in tension where business needs to be healthy and freedom must be on offer to the 10,000 women who still stand in line. When you think about your role in selling Freeset products, please don't under estimate it. Your ongoing business means ongoing freedom. How's that for motivation?