Our journey began in 2008 when our Founder, Smarita Sengupta, began working as a social worker and saw the challenging life in Kolkata’s brothels and shelter homes. Smarita realised that the life chances of trafficking survivors were hindered by poor education and mental health issues. Without support, survivors were leaving the shelter homes and being either re-trafficked or left with no option but to move into Kolkata’s brothel areas.
our founder, Smarita sengupta
A Social enterprise
Smarita and her friend Becky began one of Kolkata’s first social enterprises tackling sex trafficking by employing rescued victims of sex trafficking. Reflection was created to employ sex trafficking survivors to manufacture fashion accessories and Destiny Foundation was created to utilise the profits from Reflection for various non-profit projects focussed on empowering girls and women.
Our mission was simple: “To educate, employ and empower vulnerable children and women in Kolkata so they can avoid sexual exploitation”
We began to realise that the survivors in our care needed deep and long-term support. Simply providing counselling and employment programmes was not always enough. So our organisation has evolved to provide long-term support from childhood through to adulthood across various projects. We sometimes use the motto “one life at time” to remind ourselves that every survivor has a different path to empowerment.
Destiny is a family. Many of the girls and women in our care have been connected with us for many years and involved in many projects. Some of those who are supported by Destiny first came to know us as children at a shelter home and are now employed by Reflection designing and manufacturing our products. On our journey we’ve been lucky to develop a wonderful network of friends and supporters including our customers, volunteers, technology companies, university interns and other partner organisations in Kolkata. These wonderful people are our strength!
Today, our product business funds our non-profit foundation’s four main programmes:
- Supporting law enforcement on sex-trafficking rescues.
- Social care programmes at a Government shelter home.
- ‘Home-stay’ apartment providing safe accommodation for vulnerable women who have recently left a shelter home.
- Community centre in a city red-light area.
destiny in the future
Destiny’s future is bright! We remain committed to our mission and want to increase the impact of our empowerment programmes. We plan to grow our fashion accessories business and are developing a new business plan to improve our brand and operations. And we continue to track the empowerment of those we care about most. Some of those survivors who have been with Destiny for years are now looking to their future with optimism and hope – some are even investigating how to create their own organisations to tackle human trafficking.
If you’d like to be a part of Destiny’s story then we’d love to hear from you! Send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.