The story began in 2001 during an exploration in the heart of the old city.
Peter and Leonora deVries, the founders, discovered an infamous red light district where thousands of women “work the line” day and night. These are women who have either been tricked into prostitution as young girls or found themselves with no other options to feed their starving families. These women with few choices are forced into the trade.
Love Calcutta Arts (LCA) was born from a desire to bring freedom to young women who do not carry their father’s family name; who often do not even know what that name is.
LCA aims to break the cycle of generations of demeaning slavery. It provides economic freedom to its workers as well as giving them a sense of dignity and self-worth. It offers a way out for the girls who would otherwise be at risk of abuse.
The business, situated in the heart of the community where the girls live and work, currently employs 50 girls, aged between 17 and 25 years. They undergo an initial three months training and then their work is carefully supervised to ensure a high standard of work is achieved. Some receive training in other skills, such as screen printing.
The girls’ faces now radiate joy because they have hope for a bright future. But there are others waiting to join. Can you help us make a difference?
India has one of the oldest handmade paper industries in the world. The papers are made from recycled waste such as cotton rags and paper pulp mixed with natural fibres, such as rice straw, jute, flowers or coloured cotton fibres to give a mottling effect. After drying the papers are dyed and cut into sheets, ready to be used in all sorts of applications.
Kolkata provides a large variety of handmade papers as well as numerous ornaments, beads and sequins. From this great resource LCA creates designer cards and special-occasion bags. Please note, however, that with all handmade papers there may be some differences in depth of colour so the actual paper may differ somewhat from the illustrations.