Today we finished our second of two days at New Hope School and then headed over to a longtime ministry partner to spend the afternoon there.

While we were walking through the village on our way to New Hope, I saw Mou, a young girl that I had met five years prior at the school.  She is no longer attending school.  I wasn’t able to find out the reason as I only had a few minutes before school started and I didn’t have a translator. Thank goodness for Google Translate, we were able to communicate pretty well through the app.

mou 2013

Mou and Lauren Debor, 2014



Mou, 2019

Stories like Mou’s are WHY we return to Kolkata.  Look in the backgrounds of the two photographs taken from almost the same spot, five years apart. In the first photo, the homes are all huts and the “road” is rocky, bumpy, muddy terrain.  In the second photo you can see that many of the homes are now made from brick or at least tin, and the lane has been paved.This village has been forever changed by New Hope School and the impact that the gospel has had on its students and their families. Hope.

Girls like Mou have an uncertain future, especially without education.  I pray that Mou will be able to return to school somewhere, hopefully New Hope School.

Today’s science lesson at school was ANIMALS!  We studied the different types of animals; their habitats, food, etc.  Then we dissected owl pellets!

“Auntie, Auntie!”  They were so excited every time they would find a bone!

New Hope School is really the only part of the trip that we can photograph.  Everything else we do cannot be documented due to the sensitive nature of the visits.  So we describe the ministry as best as we can, but it’s hard to put it into words.

Our afternoon appointment was at a ministry partner in Sonagachi, said to be one of the largest and oldest red-light districts in the world.

Kolkata is home to one of the largest and oldest red-light districts in the world. Some estimate up to 6,000 women work in Sonagachi, a cramped maze of narrow alleys and crumbling buildings that could fit in one city block.
Traffickers prey on young women without a support network, selling them to brothels or private networks where they are exploited in the commercial sex industry. Sex trafficking is a violent crime: IJM has met survivors who were beaten, starved or forced to use drugs and alcohol. Some have shared that they were raped more than a dozen times in a day.

There are many ministries and NGO’s doing work in this red-light area. Sadly, the business seems to be moving out to private homes, where the girls are harder to track and find.

But on this day, we focused on the ladies at our ministry partner (name removed for security).  We spent the afternoon doing music therapy, crafts, and worship with 40 survivors.  They have been trained in the art of beautiful sewing, and we had the chance to purchase a few items hand made by the women.Many of these women have placed their faith in Jesus and have stable jobs. Hope.

When we leave the red light area around 7:15 pm, it is dark and the lanes and main line is beginning to bustle with the evening’s activities.  Street vendors sell local food, tea shops boil chai, and women of all ages begin to line the street.  We keep our eyes straight ahead and do not make eye contact with anyone.  It goes against our nature but we know that for our safety we must move quickly and with purpose through the lanes.  We pray, we walk, we process. Although we have just left a place filled with light and hopefulness, we are mindful of the life that these women led before their rescue. “But greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city.” Hope.

“So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬