Head down to GB Road, Delhi’s red light district, and you’ll come across an awesome NGO that’s lightening up the lives and igniting the minds of some of capital’s most vulnerable children. And get this, the creative kids at this NGO are about to host their very own art exhibition. Now, how cool is that?
Garstin Bastion Road, more frequently referred to as GB Road, is at the centre of Delhi’s red light district. It’s estimated that as many as 4,000 ladies, who work as prostitutes, live in about a 100 brothels along this stretch of road on the edge of the walled city.
As you might expect, GB Road is usually in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Most of the ladies that work here have been trafficked or forced into prostitution by life circumstances, and their children carry the shame of their mother’s work wherever they go.
When your mother works on Garstin Bastion Road getting a foot hold on the ladder of life and securing a little break doesn’t come easy.
But, let’s change the script and paint a different picture. It’s time to turn the page and take a closer look at a project that’s making a massive difference to the lives of some of GB road’s most vulnerable residents.
It’s a magical story that has amazing children at its heart, inspiring women at its centre and bundles of energy all around. Welcome to the Art for Hope project, hosted by the SMS Centre.
The Art for Hope project, an initiative of expatriate Antoinette Louw, offers the children of the women that work as prostitutes a place where they can play like kids, learn about themselves and the wider world and have some much needed fun along the way.
But wait, there’s more. Antoinette and fellow expats, Lisa Akerman and Jillian Nagory, who head down to GB road each week, have been so inspired by the creative energy of GB road’s talented children that they’re putting on art exhibition to showcase the kids work.
Antoinette is the first to admit that the Art for Hope Project is just a small part of a far bigger picture. The personable, larger than life, Lalita SA Nayak, the founder of NGO, the SMS Centre, is the powerhouse that provides this triumvirate of expat mothers with the platform to work with the children of GB road.
Back in 1991 Lalita opened up a single room as a safe space for the children of GB Road and called it the SMS Centre. Today, the SMS centre has four rooms and provides 65 children, from the ages of one to 15 years, with educational opportunities, the chance of enjoyment and something good and hearty to eat.
The Art for Hope exhibition taking place later this month presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on what the SMS Centre has already achieved and revel in what it’s doing right now.
The Art for Hope exhibition, in partnership with Primo Priviledge, takes place on the 18th November and tickets, priced at RS1000 (including wine and starters), are on sale now. For more information on the exhibition head on over to the project’s Facebook page.
If you want to know more about the project and the people behind it, please contact Antoine@AntoineArt.com or text 9560707920