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The Freedom Now Campaign is a dynamic, growing, and grassroots effort led by individuals in collaboration with Guria all around the world. It's a mosaic of different interests, different cultures, and different styles of action coming together to demand Freedom Now for victims of human trafficking. These "Other Initiatives" tell a story of the Freedom Now Campaign's interaction with communities around the world in innovative and powerful ways.
Love to ride your bike? Organize a Freedom Now cycle ride! Love to run? Organize a 5k! Love to paint? Put on a Freedom Now art show! Whatever you love, however you spend your time, you too can lead a Freedom Now Campaign initiative in your community.
Click on the links below to learn about different Freedom Now initiatives
There are a few ongoing Freedom Now initiatives. These include:
Browse their respective sites. Getting in touch with either of these initiatives would be a good way to jumpstart your involvement with Guria.
Specks of Dust
Specks of Dust is a documentary made by Shaina Waltrous, Azza Cohen, and Shreya Chaterjee that tells the story of Ajeet, Manju, Barish, and the organization Guria. This Film has been officially screened over a dozen times, reaching thousands of people.
Website - specksofdustfilm.com
Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/specksofdust
Interview - WPRB
Specks of Dust Showings:
May 27, 2016 - Princeton University, Lewis Library Bowl 138
SPECKS OF DUST presents the story of a group of activists fighting to end human trafficking. For over twenty years, they have refused to rest until every child is free to live a vibrant and creative life. Directors Shaina Watrous '14 & Azza Cohen '16 led a discussion after the screening.
This event was free and open to the public.
May 19, 2016 - Khusi Hona Woodstock in NYC (15 Broad St, New York City)
Specks of Dust Screening and Reception
Khusi Hona Woodstock organizes service learning trips with local high school and college students to India and Nepal. Our work focuses on education, art, environmental, sport and technology projects that forge deep and lasting relationships while inspiring dedication to community service near and far. Among the programs we support is Guria, a grassroots effort to end child prostitution and human trafficking.
April 1, 2016 - Jones Hall 100, Princeton University
Screening as part of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Gender, Violence, and Anti-Violence Conference with Q&A session after the screening.
March 28, 2016 - Kenyon College
Ohio fans, we are so excited for our screening and discussion TONIGHT at Kenyon College. We will be showing the film at 7:00pm, followed by a Q&A session with Azza Cohen, one of the directors.
Thank you to Not for Sale at Kenyon College, The International Society at Kenyon (ISAK), South Asian Society (SAS), and The Middle East Student Association (MESA) for sponsoring!
March 24, 2016 - Upper Theatre, Globe Cinema (617 8 Ave. S.W.), Calgary, Canada
Leading up to the event:
Join us for the Calgary screening of SPECKS OF DUST, the story of Guria, a group of activists fighting human trafficking: inspiring, fiery, hopeful.
Prospects are often limited for both the children born into India's red light districts, and for kidnapped children sold into slavery. They are held in a cycle of sex slavery and exploitation, often exposed to domestic violence and social stigmas that cripple their educational prospects. They have one haven: Guria Sansthan, a grassroots organization of visionaries fighting to end human trafficking and exploitation in the face of police and governmental corruption. For over twenty years, they have refused to rest until every child is free to live a vibrant and creative life.
Date: March 24th, 2016
Time: Doors open at 6pm
Venue: Upper Theatre, Globe Cinema (617 8 Ave. S.W.)
100% of all proceeds went directly to Guria.
Watch the trailer: click here.
After the event:
The event yesterday was a huge success! We managed to surpass our $10k fundraising goal and the donations are still rolling in!
A BIG HUGE, HEARTFELT THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered, donated, attended, shared the event and sent their love and support from a distance! Empire Banquet Hall, the food was DELISH. We devoured everything you sent. Vicky Minhas, thanks for being our roaming photographer! Can't wait to see the images and share them with Ajeet and Manju! Globe Cinema - you guys are amazing. Big thanks to Josh in particular for being so welcoming and accommodating right from planning to day of. Azza Cohen and Shaina Watrous - you did a FANTASTIC job creating and directing the film. It's powerful and captivating. Thank you so much for devoting so much time and passion to the cause and for allowing us to share your work.
February 16, 2016 - Little Stars School, Varanasi, India
Thank you to the Little Stars School Varanasi for hosting our first screening in India! Students then created small art projects based on what they saw.
October 22, 2015 - Germantown Friends School
Thank you so very much to Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia for screening #specksofdust yesterday as part of their human rights assembly.
October 22, 2015 - Womanspace, The College of New Jersey
A special screening hosted by Womanspace, Inc. at The College of New Jersey to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
September 3, 2015 - Princeton Club of Chicago
July 25, 2015 - South Asia Center, University of Pennsylvania
South Asia Center, University of Pennsylvania hosts a screening with their Startalk Hindi and Urdu language program students. One student reflected, "Seeing Ajeet live his life makes me wonder how I can change the world."
May 29, 2015 - Princeton Reunion Screening, Lewis Bowl Library, Princeton University
April 28, 2015 - School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK
April 25, 2015 - 185 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ
April 23, 2015 - 185 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ
The moment you've all been waiting for! SPECKS OF DUST is a documentary film that follows the life of extraordinary individuals fighting for justice for the survivors of human trafficking in Varanasi, India.
Acala Bolen | Wales to London Cycle Ride
Story | www.justgiving.com/guriauk
I am cycling from Wales to London in July ! This mammoth cycle will be in aid of Guria, a grassroots charity based in India (Uttar Pradesh), Guria are tirelessly fighting against human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children, sadly a huge and growing problem.
Guria provide education and awareness and empower women and girls and whole villages to stand up for their rights and not fall victim to traffickers. Guria have rescued more than 2,000 people from slavery, including children from sexual exploitation in brothels. They are one of very few to do the dangerous work of taking human traffickers to court and they have even secured convictions in a region where historically traffickers and those who exploit children are used to facing no consequences. .. These are some of the reasons I am cycling to support Guria!
Guria are a small frontline charity and have little time for fundraising so your support is needed. Any donations will go a long way in Uttar Pradesh, which is one of the poorest parts of India and the world.
Thank-you so much!"
9 August, 2015 - Amy Hill | 42K run in Cambodia
As some of you may know, in August, I will be running a marathon in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
I am running and raising funds for a grassroots charity called Guria. I will also be visiting Guria in September. They are located in the heart of the red light district of Varanasi (Northern India) and are actively fighting in the war against human trafficking and child prostitution.
Guria is known for its on the ground approach and physically extracting minors from brothels. Everyday they face significant challenges from the community.
One of the unique aspects I find very interesting is their methods of rehabilitation. They take a purely holistic approach and use education, yoga and meditation to heal. A recent volunteer for Guria quoted the following about her experience with children's meditation:
'I was puzzled that children born into an underworld of human suffering could still laugh and play with downright exuberance. The explanation came when the matron showed us the children's daily ritual of meditation'.
Meditation for children in Guria could not be more different – to be present is to suffer the harsh realities of a life without family, freedom, opportunity or hope. As I sat and listened to the matron directing the fifty odd children sitting cross-legged, eyes squeezed desperately tight. "Do not be angry with your mother…You are loved…if you see someone suffering, help them…Now go far, far away…Keep going…Farther…Within ten minutes, they'll all be asleep."
You can find out more about the volunteer experience with Guria at: http://guriafreedomnow.blogspot.hk/
Join me today in the fight against human trafficking and child prostitution in India. Any amount will help support the efforts of Guria in their fight.
Paris School of Business | Fundraising and Awareness Raising
Fundraising: Charities, bake sales, handmaking wrapping paper for Christmas , money boxes in several shops, creation and sale of pocket ash trays, running charity.
Awareness raising: Event organisation in their school - Paris School of Business ( PSB ), so that students know about the organisation; presentation of the project to the current mayor of Paris for the official opening of their school.
22 Feb, 2015 - Gaurav Mathur | Half Marathon in London
Gaurav says: "I am raising funds for Guria UK because of their mission and grassroot approach"
See the story at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gaurav-mathur2
February, 2015 | Facebook Post:
Well done Gaurav Mathur! For running the Old Deer Park Richmond Half Marathon, in London, and raising nearly £150 for Guria! Please do chip in and support Gaurav's brave efforts here:
September, 2014 - Freedom Now @ Princeton University
September 28, 2014 | Facebook posts:
Our Freedom Now event on Tuesday at Princeton University was a great success! Many friends showed up to enjoy dance, music, learn about Guria's work, and hear Ajeet's words of wisdom.
Thank you to everyone who came, and to the Freedom Fund for bringing Ajeet to Princeton!
July, 2014 | London to Cambridge Cycle Ride
They made it! Our brave Freedom Now cyclists traveled 56 miles, from London to Cambridge. Well done Brian Millington, Erwin de Genst, Jim Carroll, Sam Carr, Harry Whitby, Phil Haigh and Claudia Black! One cyclist, Sonia Dee, took a small detour and travelled back to the start point making her total 62 miles.
Here they are starting off from Tottenham Hale:
LeapNow Passion Project
The LeapNow group who raised money for Guria has been hard at work out in Ghazipur district building a goat bank. Ajeet has in the past described goat banks as the "ATM" of the poor in India. The vulnerable communities can get goats in the name of loans without involving cash. The LeapNow group was also treated to a village cultural program performance that included local folk musicians and dancers.
Gudiya, by Blush Originals
Busting Varanasi's Child Prostitution Racket, by 101 Underground
Busting Varanasi's Child Prostitution Racket, by 101 Underground
Breaking Chains, Building Community, by Paradigm Shift Project