Stories from India - From the Balcony - Travel Photography

One of the projects we had going at Freeset (see my previous post about Freeset) was to paint Shannon's apartment. (Hi Shannon!). Shannon is from Cincinnati and is living in Kolkata working at Freeset. I took the job of painting the shutters from the outside, mainly so i could see what's going on in the street below me.

Lot's of people walking around, kids playing, motor cycles driving through and honking but here are my top two favorite happenings:

1. a mother dropped of her (very) young children off. She left them to play in a little cart and was gone for at least an hour while the kids played. She may have just been inside the house. But for at least an hour no one was supervising this little ones and they played happily with A stick in this cart together.

2. a kitten was meowing and meowing. This went on for a while whenall of sudden a neighbor upstairs opened his door, yelled something in Bengali and threw out a grocery bag with scraps out. The bag landed right in front of the kitten and she had a feast! That stopped the meowing


I took a little video with my go pro. Nothing that exciting but I thought you might like it! You can see the children playing in the cart if you look closely.

Stories from India - About Freeset - Travel Photography

I feel like before I continue I need to set the scene a little bit and tell you about Freeset.

Freeset is a Freedom business in Sonagachi, the largest red light district in India. Freeset employs woman who are trapped in the sex trafficking business. They sew jute bags and t-shirts and offer fair wages to woman who want out from the line.


Freeset's goal is to help other Freedom businesses get started in Sonagachi and turns this red light district into a business district! As of right now there are other freedom businesses such as The Loyal Workshop and Sari Bari. I will be talking about these business in a different blog post though.

Freeset recently bought the Gateway building. The Gateway building sits at the edge of Sonagachi and once renovations are done the hope is to turn it into a place where woman can feel safe, have tea with friends and also expand their t -shirt making business.

The renovations are slow (like everything in India) but there are a ton of volunteers helping with the work. Our goal was to support the people working at Freeset and the Gateway Building in any way we could.

That meant a few of us worked in the IT department, others did electric work, some others painted and then there was Kristen, Leslie and I and we got to clean toilets...

At first, I was like "I came all the way to India to clean toilets?" But, I soon realized how much of a blessing it was for the people living and working long hours at the Gateway Building to come home to deep cleaned bathrooms. It was just one tiny thing that they didn't have to worry about.

So we spent the majority of our first day cleaning bathrooms. It was no easy task with limited supplies and all we wanted was a large bottle of bleach and some rags! But we got the job done.

Hopefully, this gave you a little overview of Freeset. Please check out their website HERE and also their Cincinnati warehouse on Riverside Dr! Their T-shirts are amazing quality and just knowing what a difference Freeset is making in India is all I need to know to support them!