“We only have 2 choices. Nothing or do something!!” ~ Tony Kirwan, Founder, Destiny Rescue – Committed to liberating the enslaved & restoring those who have been abused.
Close proximity to the Bangladesh border, mounting unemployment, marginalized income that barely made ends meet, frightful accounts of domestic violence and harrowing tales of human trafficking! Sounds traumatic? Here’s Manika Sarkar, who’s lived through all this, fought back and lives to tell the world her tale!
After being married early in life and having faced severe domestic violence at a time when toys and dolls should have been her playmates, Manika didn’t fade away into the dark. She chose to be an inspiration to the millions like her. She chose to stand up for herself and became a social activist inspiring everyone around her, including her daughters to take a stand against human trafficking, child marriage and exploitation.
She has single-handedly successfully launched an awareness campaign at the grassroot level against human trafficking and child marriage. Manika adds, “I am one of the handful of victims who has survived to lead a different life. Now, I am determined to be part of a solution: to raise awareness and agitate for changes.”
At the moment Manika fiercely runs a sewing centre with some assistance from the Kutchina Foundation. The centre promotes and drives economic independence among women victims of trafficking. She trains the rescued women on sewing skills helping them become self-sustainable by eventually landing jobs either in the business or even turn entrepreneurs. Along with this, Manika also owns a small piece of land where these women can farm, spend some time talking to others and try to forget their woes even if it’s for just a while. Talk about Mother Nature and her healing power! After all the distress that these women have been through, Manika’s affection and support gets them back to normalcy.
Manika adds, “Turning social activist isn’t enough. The kind of work I do and what I aspire requires a lot of support. I’m sure the coming year is going to bring me luck in my endeavors.”
Manika persistently tries to channel her struggles and experiences into developing a solid support system for women who have been victimized by trafficking and child exploitation. With this objective and her determination at the helm, Manika runs a women trafficking case management support initiative where victims (women, children of either sex) of abuse, child marriage or trafficking can dial 1098 and get protection and reinforcement.
Currently her center provisions for over a whopping 100 survivors hailing from more than 70 affected families. As saddening it may sound, these women and children are now leading fulfilling lives. For her extraordinary accomplishments in saving women and children from the evils that prey on them, Manika has even been awarded by the West Bengal State Women’s Commission.
In 2017, Manika has a long list of desires. She wishes to get new sewing machines for her business that will help her train more women and make them self-reliant. She also wants to buy a vehicle so that she can move around faster thus saving her time and energy. Manika wants to sponsor school bags and books for 20 girls who have been pulled out of bad child marriages. Her other desires are to help the migrants who are old, in need and have moved to find work. She wants to provide shelter and support to women by solving their legal, mental and health issues while also teach them skills to help them become independent. Talk about purpose, perseverance and willpower.