#GoodNews! Human Trafficking Survivors Run This Bakery

For these women, the bakery is a way to rehabilitate and empower themselves after their ordeals.

3 min read
Hindi Female

The ‘Beti Zindabad Bakery’ in Kansabel, a small town in Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur district, is the sole bakery in town. It is also a chance at rehabilitation for the many women who were victims of human trafficking from in and around the district, reported Hindustan Times.

For these women, the bakery is a way to rehabilitate and empower themselves after their ordeals.

“When I first met the trafficking survivors to talk about rehabilitation in a way that would make them happy, I realised that many were very interested in cooking,” said Priyanka Shukla, 35, an IAS officer and Collector of Jashpur. “So I thought, why not help them open a bakery. Jashpur has a large Christian population, and there is demand for cakes, cookies and muffins. They had a ready market,” Shukla told Hindustan Times.

In early 2017, nearly 20 women had been rescued from around the area. While some had been working in homes, others had fallen into prostitution rings, reported The Indian Express. They were then sent to a government-run Vigyan Ashram in Pune, where they went through a two-month course in baking.

Together, on 15 August 2017, the survivors opened the bakery in Kansabel as co-owners under the Jeevan Swasahayata Samuh. They became businesswomen.
For these women, the bakery is a way to rehabilitate and empower themselves after their ordeals.
The women of Beti Zindabad Bakery run a stall at Rajyotsav, Raipur.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Jashpur City)

The shop opens at 7 am every day. In one room, a counter had cakes, bread, cream rolls and chocolates displayed. The equipment, financed by loans from the state government, lies in another room. The Zilla Vyapar Udyog provided them a Rs 5 lakh loan, while the Women and Child Development Department gave Rs 1.5 lakh, according to The Indian Express.

The shop makes around Rs 1500 a day, which goes up to Rs 2500 during weddings and other occasions.

“We needed to find a way to give them gainful employment, so that they were rehabilitated,” Ignatia Toppo, District Programme Officer of the Women and Child Development Department, told The Indian Express.

Prabha Tigga, of Jeevan Jharna, an NGO, told Indian Express that they had had to overcome many hurdles in order to reach where they were. Although the girls were provided free accommodation at Kansabel, their parents took a lot of convincing. Only once they came to the town and saw their daughters in the working environment did they accept it.

The cafe was started by 20 girls, but the number has gone down now to 10. Many have left, but to start their own shops in their own villages, reported The Indian Express.

There are many other cafes with a cause across the country. Sheroes Hangout has outlets in Agra and Lucknow, employing 20 acid attack survivors. Mirchi & Mime and Madeira & Mime, in Mumbai, together employ a total of 55 specially abled servers. Crust & Core in Kolkata is run by homeless people who had been rescued, and by intellectually challenged persons, and the Mitti Cafés in Karnataka have a similar system.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and Hindustan Times.)

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