Sophia Nesamoney was first inspired to write her book, The Other Side of the Bridge, by her annual family trips to India. She recalls being a young girl looking out the car window and wondering about the stories of the people around her, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager that the specifics of The Other Side of the Bridge took shape.
Sophia had the chance to work with the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI) of the American India Foundation. She traveled to rural India to help collect stories of those involved in the maternal care programs – both the young women the program served and the medical professionals teaching and advocating for those young women. It was hearing these stories that ultimately caused Sophia to put pen to paper and write The Other Side of the Bridge. Through the perspective of a young, Indian-American journalist, the book tells of the realities and struggles faced by some of the women that Sophia met, struggles that include things like human trafficking and child marriage.
For her awareness and advocacy work as a part of writing The Other Side of the Bridge, Sophia was recently honored with the Girls for the Last Girl Award from Apne Aap, an NGO based in India that is dedicated to ending human trafficking worldwide. To receive the award, Sophia was invited to the UN for the US premiere of the movie, Love Sonia, a film about human trafficking that stars Freida Pinto and Demi Moore. The event was hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Apne Aap. At a reception following the premiere, Sophia was honored along with philanthropist Sybil Robson Orr for shedding a spotlight on human trafficking, the third largest organized crime in the world. In her speech after receiving the award, Sophia said:
“I believe that the solution to sex trafficking lies in the voices of the human beings that it hits the hardest…Our eyes, ears, and voice are the most powerful tools we possess and I believe that real change can only begin when we give young women…a chance to tell their stories.”
We are so proud of Sophia and all her hard work! Society of Young Inklings is pleased to be a small part of the way Sophia has used the power of story to advocate for change and give a voice to untold stories.