Reshmi grew up in Kalighat, which is flooded almost daily by the nearby Adi Ganga Canal [Karen Dias]
From: The Slum

India: No place to grow up

Fourteen-year-old Reshmi is boxing her way out of the red light district where she was raised.

As part of the ‘Where I live’ series, the Al Jazeera Magazine asked people from around the world how their lives have been influenced by where they live. Meet Reshmi, who at 14 is a state level boxer.

When Reshmi Pal’s mother was unable to care for her, her aunt brought the six-month-old baby with her to Kolkata. Now 14, Reshmi is a state level boxer.

Her aunt, uncle and cousin share a one-room house in the Kalighat red light district, where her aunt goes door-to-door selling soap and oil, but for the past two years, Reshmi has lived in an NGO-run residential facility for at risk girls in south Kolkata.

Her aunt sent her to the facility because she was convinced that Kalighat, which is flooded almost daily by the nearby Adi Ganga Canal, was no place for a young girl to grow up.

Encouraged by a friend, Reshmi joined 10 other girls from the hostel who are being trained in competitive boxing by a professional coach. “Our classes are only thrice a week at 6am,” she says excitedly. “But we can’t resist practicing on our own before school every single day.”

For more on Reshmi Pal’s story and that of other residents of Kolkata’s Kalighat red light district, download the Al Jazeera Magazine:

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