Ben Harper/New Light Collaboration
In 2014, we undertook a collaboration between musician Ben Harper and new Light India, an organization located in the red light district of Kolkata, India. Located in the same district that Mother Teresa served in population suffers from the blight of generational stigma, casteism, human trafficking, prostitution, drugs and neglect. New Light provides shelter, schooling, meals, and life care for over 250 children and serves a broader population of 5,000. One aspect that was overlooked was the communities teenage boys. Five years prior, NewLight opened up a home for teenage girls in the suburbs where they could grow up and become young women free of all of the risks and pitfalls that are a mainstay of life in Kalighat. The impact of this facility was impressive. The young boys, however, had no such facility. We saw an opportunity for a collaboration. On September 19th, 2014, Ben held an intimate show at the New York Center For Ethical Culture on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Packed with luminaries and fans alike, Ben introduced the audience to the work of New Light, the particular challenges that the young men faced. New Light Director, Urmi Basu also addressed the attentive crowd before Ben resumed playing where he was joined by musician Jackson Brown to round out the evening. The concert went on to raise $50,000 that enabled New Light to open Khela-Ghar boys home sheltering 35 boys and protecting them from the risks of their neighborhood by giving them the opportunity to grow up outside the city and attend normal schools that afford them with opportunities previously unimaginable to them.