Apne Aap Women's Collective (AAWC)

Founded in 1998, Apne Aap Women's Collective (AAWC) is an anti-trafficking organisation that serves the women and children of Kamathipura, the red light area of Mumbai that is also the largest and oldest red light area in Asia. By providing our members with the tools and resources to create a better quality of life, we seek to empower women who have been trafficked into brothel-based prostitution and to prevent the cycle of intergenerational prostitution among their daughters. Since 1998, we have served more than 2,800 women and children. Our alumni have earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees and entered respected professions like accounting, beauty, business process outsourcing, dance, hosp...

Apne Aap Women's Collective (AAWC)
61-B, Room No. 6, Ground Floor, Shankarrao Pupala Marg
11th Lane Kamathipura, opposite Pochammadevi Temple
Mumbai, MH 400008
India
+91 22 2308 3326
http://www.aawc.in

CEO

Manju Vyas

Management Team

Manju Vyas, Namita Khatu

Board of Directors

Ashika Mehta, Amruda Nair, Maneck Davar, Girish Dand, Sudarshan Loyalka, Vishnu Bhagwat, Ramchandra Patil

Project Leaders

Saswati Das

Mission

Founded in 1998, Apne Aap Women's Collective (AAWC) is an anti-trafficking organisation that serves the women and children of Kamathipura, the red light area of Mumbai that is also the largest and oldest red light area in Asia. By providing our members with the tools and resources to create a better quality of life, we seek to empower women who have been trafficked into brothel-based prostitution and to prevent the cycle of intergenerational prostitution among their daughters. Since 1998, we have served more than 2,800 women and children. Our alumni have earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees and entered respected professions like accounting, beauty, business process outsourcing, dance, hospitality management, luxury cuisine, medical compounding, nursing, photography, retail, social work, and teaching.

Programs

** UMEED ** "Umeed" is the Hindi word for "hope". The objective of Umeed is to help women in prostitution maintain their physical, mental, and economic wellbeing. Umeed is not a one-time rescue program; rather, we seek to empower women with long-term skills so they can exit prostitution permanently when they are ready. - Education: Umeed women can enroll in daily literacy classes for Hindi and/or English and register for distance learning courses - Empowerment. AAWC helps Umeed women obtain the identity documents (voter cards, ration cards, PAN cards) that are necessary to access routine public services or gain employment in the formal sector. Women also attend monthly awareness workshops on legal issues (sex workers' rights, legislation on prostitution, child protection) and on government schemes for which they are eligible. They may also choose to enroll in daily vocational training workshops to develop skills needed for alternate employment beyond the red light area (tailoring, jewelry-making). - Finance. AAWC teaches financial literacy through awareness workshops to instill a culture of saving that is largely absent in the red light district. We assist Umeed members in opening and maintaining saving accounts at the Indian Post Office until they have saved enough money to open an account with the Bank of Maharashtra. - Health. Umeed women receive first aid, quarterly medical camps (general health, dental, vision, malaria, cancer detection), and regular health workshops (hygiene, nutrition, reproductive health, maternal/child health). A counselor helps them address personal and relationship issues like substance abuse, violence, sexual health, childcare, and alternative employment. Women living with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis receive daily nutritional supplements, those who need long-term treatment or hospital care are provided subsidized medication and/or hospital referrals. - Recreation. Umeed women enjoy therapeutic communal bonding through activities like religious festivals (Hindu, Muslim, and Christian), park visits, and secular celebrations (International Women's Day). ** UDAAN ** "Udaan" is the Hindi word for "flight". The objective of Udaan is to empower daughters of women in prostitution (ages 6-18) to pursue a life away from the red light area. By encouraging these girls to develop a passion for education and self-confidence in their unique talents, we help them defy traditional notions of women as providers of sex, childbearing, and housekeeping. Unlike community programs that rely on vocational training in menial low-wage positions, we equip our girls to pursue aspirational professions and genuine socioeconomic mobility. - Education. Udaan girls are enrolled in a municipal school or private school and attend daily afterschool tutoring at the AAWC center. We hold meetings to review each student's holistic progress with her mother on a monthly basis and evaluate the girls using customized unit tests on a quarterly basis between school exams. When a member completes 12th standard, AAWC guides her through a Bachelor's or Master's program and helps pay for any private coaching fees. - Empowerment. Udaan girls develop self-esteem, discipline, talent, and leadership through weekly workshops, e.g., life skills (finance, health), professional skills (English, computers, CVs, job interviewing), creativity (painting, arts & crafts), fitness (Sports Day, dance), human rights (women's rights, environmentalism), and careers (law, film, medicine, finance, hospitality). When they are ready to enter the workplace, AAWC guides them through the proper vocational certifications, internships, and job placement processes in professions like accounting, beauty, business process outsourcing, dance, hospitality management, luxury cuisine, medical compounding, nursing, photography, retail, social work, and teaching. - Finance. AAWC teaches financial literacy to instill a culture of saving that is largely absent in the red light district. We assist Udaan members in opening and maintaining saving accounts at the Indian Post Office until they have saved enough money to open an account with the Bank of Maharashtra. - Health. Udaan girls receive daily nutritional meals and supplements, monthly physical checkups, quarterly medical camps (general health, dental, vision, immunisations, malaria, cancer detection), and regular health workshops (hygiene, nutrition, reproductive health). A counselor helps them address personal and relationship issues like academic performance, career choices, puberty, family relationships, or sexual abuse. If HIV/AIDS care or hospital care is required, we provide hospital referrals and diligent follow-up on treatments and medication. - Recreation. Udaan girls develop healthy relationships with their peers and mentors through recreational activities like religious festivals (Hindu, Muslim, and Christian), theme park visits, carnivals, and secular celebrations (International Day of the Girl Child). - Shelter. Udaan girls who face particular unsafe home environments can stay at the AAWC overnight shelter. We also refer girls to partner shelter homes in suburban areas, where girls can grow up far away from the red light area. ** UMANG ** "Umang" is the Hindi word for "joy". The objective of Umang is to help toddlers (ages 2 to 5) develop physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially in preparation for formal schooling. Although new members often mimic the violence, abusive language, and sex acts they observe at home, Umang provides a safe space for toddlers to unlearn harmful behaviors and form healthy habits. - Education. Umang children are provided uniforms and attend daily kindergarten classes at the AAWC center, where they develop discipline, neuromotor coordination, basic English and Hindi literacy, and basic numeracy. Every month, we hold meetings to review all children's academic progress with their mothers and evaluate them using a holistic rubric. When they reach age six, all children are registered for school. Girls are enrolled in Udaan, and boys are referred to a partner organisation. - Empowerment. Umang children develop discipline, talent, self-confidence, and leadership through workshops, e.g., creative (painting, arts & crafts), fitness (Sports Day), and excursions (parks, gardens). - Health. Umang children receive daily nutritional meals and supplements, monthly physical checkups, quarterly medical camps (general health, dental, vision, immunisations, malaria, cancer detection), and regular health workshops (hygiene, nutrition). If HIV/AIDS care or hospital care is required, we provide hospital referrals and diligent follow-up on treatments and medication.

Statistics on Apne Aap Women's Collective (AAWC)

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2015: $150,000
  • Maximum Annual Budget: $150,000
  • Other funding sources: Indian and U.S. - individuals, trusts, and private businesses
  • Religious Affiliation: none
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