Freeset - News

Freeset welcomes new social worker

Aug 31, 2014

Arpita Das Barman joins Tamar and will provide group therapy sessions to all of our women

Arpita Das Barman in a group therapy session with current Freeset trainees

Freeset has taken the exciting step of appointing a new social worker. Arpita Das Barman joins the Tamar team, a Trust project providing staff support for all non-work related issues. She will provide much-needed counselling to all of the Freeset women.

“I will be leading 15 group therapy sessions a week, so initially each woman at Freeset will receive 1 hour a week of counselling,” Arpita says. “They are interactive, creative-based sessions. We aim to take the women on a journey. We will start with games and exercises designed to develop trust and group cohesion, and we will slowly move into sharing our emotions with one another, our strengths and weaknesses, and our hopes and fears.”

“The women are really excited to get started,” Pip Rea, Manager of Tamar Kolkata, chips in. “I have wanted to hire a social worker for at least the last 18 months. It’s something we have needed.”

Whether they are working in the sex trade or not, across the board Tamar meet with women who are lacking self-worth. “They have a marred idea of their own identity, having been sold, or lost their mothers to the trade,” Pip says. “This manifests in different ways for different women: self-cutting, drinking, or being unable to talk about how they feel.” “They get no respect from their communities,” Arpita adds.

“Ultimately, the vision of Tamar is to see women from the trade experience full and complete freedom,” Pip concludes. “We want these women to be free from bad coping strategies, to restore the whole person. We want the women to do it for themselves. Arpita will just be providing the space for them to do that, facilitating the opportunity for the women to see themselves as a team creating something beautiful, gathering together to support each other on a journey.”

The initial program of sessions will last a year, but this is just the beginning. “We want this to be ongoing,” Pip says, “for women to see this as a part of working at Freeset.” When the course is finished, other needs will be looked at. Arpita is keen to try dance therapy, and to cover more topical material, such as parenting, family issues and addictions. By that stage, Tamar hopes to have hired another social worker to work alongside Arpita, to divide the workload and to make follow-up on a one-to-one basis a more viable option.

Arpita has a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal. She applied for the job with Tamar because of a desire to work in the development sector with the underprivileged. On her first impressions of Freeset she says: “It is a very open and friendly organization, with no hierarchy. It makes me feel good and energized to be here!”