My parents explained to me at a very young age that there is always someone less fortunate than me. I started spending time at non-governmental organizations when I was 10 years old. My parents made sure that all my birthdays were not spent in any expensive cafeteria but at NGOs. Spending time with less privileged children made me understand that I was fortunate enough to have a loving family, two square meals and a home.
In one of the television shows that I watched while growing up – “Uttaran”, there was a time when the protagonist was shown working as a teacher in a school run by a non-governmental organization. That moment, I knew what I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to associate myself with a non-governmental organization even if it meant earning lesser money or living a less luxurious life.
I started volunteering with NGOs once I started college. The first organization I volunteered with was Child Rights and You (CRY). I wrote two articles on mid-day meals and child sexual abuse. My interaction with fellow volunteers, journalists etc. made me realize that child rights is the field for me. I wanted to work with children and fight with them for the life they deserve.
During my masters, I interned with another Save the Children. This time I worked under a Professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University and my work revolved around the right to education.
After completing my masters, I began working in a field where I had no experience but a lot of interest – child trafficking. I interacted with sex workers and their children to understand their compulsions, their circumstances and how they have no option but to accept this occupation. This made me realize how we are so wrong in judging people without knowing their story. Today, I am working as a research assistant in the same field with another non-governmental organization in Kolkata.
Working with non-governmental organizations has made me a non-judgemental person who knows how to respect everyone. Interacting with different people and knowing their stories has made me realize that life also gives you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.