British minister Ian McCartney was moved to tears during a visit to a home for sex workers' children in Kolkata, the young disadvantaged inmates welcoming him with beautiful songs.
Minister of Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs was greeted with songs and dance at Nijoloy, a home run by the Women's Interlink Foundation (WIF) for kids from red light areas of Kolkata and women girls who are victims of HIV/AIDS.
McCartney watched an exhibition of handmade articles created by the inmates and tried to learn a thing or two of the craft. The home is located in Madhyamgram on the outskirts of Kolkata in North 24 Pargana district.
After watching the young girls and boys performance, the minister himself tried to make hand block prints. "This is the most inspiring day of my life," he said, as tears welled up in his eyes.
"I am not talking as a minister or politician but as a father, as a grandfather. When I see these children, I cannot stop my tears.
Despite all difficulties, they are coming forward. They should get rid of all difficulties as they are the future of the world," McCartney said.
A representative of the foundation said 14 girls, aged between 15 and 19, are being provided vocational and skill development training in hand block and screen-printing in projects financed by the British high commission.
The organisation also has a branch at Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. The home has 63 girls who study in nearby schools.
WIF chairperson Aloka Mitra said the foundation was planning to construct a three-storeyed building that would house a vocational training centre and dormitories for 50 more girls.
The hand block and screen-printing project would be a part of this vocational training unit. McCartney pledged the support of his country in their endeavours.