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Jun 27, 2013

Prajwala's Psychological Rehabilitation Impacts

The past three months have been an exciting time for all the child and women survivors living in Prajwala's rehabilitative shelter home. In April 2013, only did 100% of 7th class students pass their final exams in First Division, but three were double promoted to 10th class! This is an extraordinary achievement given that these children have faced unimaginable adversities in their lives which they have slowly overcome with strength and resilience. Prajwala has inculcated the value and importance of education so that the next generation becomes self-reliant and successful in the perusal of their dreams, which are finally becoming a reality!

In addition to these landmarks, Prajwala has developed a new program in the shelter home called "Sakhi" (meaning friend), in which adult survivors are selected through an assessment process to be responsible for the supervision of 25-30 of their fellow residents as part of a peer-based support system. The Sakhis are employed as Prajwala staff and help the home coordinators care for the needs and well-being of newly rescued victims, including barefoot counseling and case management. The result has been an astounding 100% participation of all victims in the home activities and immediate crisis response regarding any issues within the therapeutic community. One survivor who completed the Sakhi training and was socially reintegrated with her family left the organization in tears, saying "Promise me one thing: That I can always return to Prajwala."

Below are some additional highlights worth celebrating:

  • Upon completion of their final exams, children in the shelter home went on several exciting excursions during summer holidays, including a field trip to Necklace Road in Hyderabad!
  • After being rescued and rehabilitated to Prajwala for rehabilitation, one sex-trafficked victim from Uzbekistan was successfully repatriated to her country of origin with the help of STOP Delhi.
  • Prajwala has been working relentlessly to get minor victim's legal status on par with multiple gang rapes to receive immediate relief benefits from the government in the form of 2 lakh rupees remuneration. This is a milestone for the organization as it is ensuring that the victims get fully compensated for the violations and exploitation they have endured.

On the political and legal advocacy front, in June 2013 Prajwala's Chief Functionary Dr. Sunitha Krishnan conducted sensitization trainings for 98 judges from 8 districts of Andhra Pradesh's Telangana Region. During this month she also addressed a gathering of over 6,000 youth in Pune to discuss issues regarding anti-trafficking and sexual violence, and was appointed Vice Chair of the reconstituted AP Women's Commission! As indicated by these path-breaking steps, Prajwala has covered many miles in its journey, yet has millions more left to travel. The commitment of our partners, supporters and volunteers is what reinforces the impact of our mission, and for this we are eternally grateful.

Mar 25, 2013

A Space for Healing and Recovery


Prajwala’s rehabilitative shelter home continues to provide holistic, non-discriminatory and unbiased access to education, healthcare, livelihood options and other needful services for children and adult victims of sex trafficking. The transition school within the shelter not only fosters the overall development of the children, but also equips them with the necessary psychosocial and scholastic skills to ensure a bright future that breaks the cycles of poverty and social exclusion. 

In addition to normalizing activities such as education and involving in home programs, children need time for structured recreation where they can play, strengthen their friendships and enjoy their lives in a healthy way. For this reason, Prajwala allocates 1 hour for games every day, during which children have been spending relishing in their brand new playground. Mainstream students have also started planting saplings and sowing seeds. On Saturday evenings, cultural events are also conducted and on Sundays children spend their free time watching movies in the amphi-theatre and participating in Brahmakumari spiritual yoga and meditation classes. 

Prajwala’s shelter home also has a visiting physician and gynecologist, and medical services are available for any emergencies or special cases of children. As many children are HIV+ and have a compromised immunity, the clinician administers regular assessment of CD4 status and accordingly manages opportunistic infections and free access to antiretroviral drugs. A referral network is used to connect children with services on an as-needed basis including external medical experts and facilities for hospitalization.

In addition, counseling is given to all members on academic/learning issues, self-development, health and personal hygiene, motivation, ventilation of feelings, and behavior modification. By and large, all home activities are functioning smoothly as a result of the commitment, support and leadership of caretakers, counselors, and coordinators alike. 

Jan 9, 2013

Rehabilitation of Survivors of Sex Trafficking

Children Celebrating Dussehra Ayudha Puja
Children Celebrating Dussehra Ayudha Puja

Prajwala has welcomed the 2013 new year with newfound hopes of healing, blessings and success for all children and adults who have found sanctuary in our therapeutic shelter home. This rehabilitative community has continued to provide a wide range of holistic services in the areas of education, healthcare, recreation, and counseling by a dedicated team of staff. The shelter is thriving as an environment where vulnerable children rescued from various stages of the trafficking process can heal psychologically, be educationally and economically empowered and have access to effective channels of social reintegration. 

During the last months of 2012, there were many achievements in the shelter, beginning with the fact that despite their difficult backgrounds and traumatic life experiences, six mainstream students topped their classes in quarterly exams with highest marks. The shelter also inaugurated a nursery school and children's park, the latter of which now serves exclusively as an area for fun and relaxation. The crèche currently has 2 infants and 7 toddlers with 2 caretakers managing the daily programs.

Furthermore, in collaboration with Silver Oaks International Baccalaureate School, a student leadership training program was organized by the student committee members of all centers to improve personality development and leadership qualities of the children. A total of 10 children went to Henry Martin Institute to attend the leadership training program and had the opportunity to interact with students from other mainstream schools. During the sessions, children learned about good habits to adopt in their lives and participated in a variety of interactive writing and speaking activities aimed at increasing self-confidence and interpersonal communication skills.

On the political front, after lots of struggle the shelter home received a government license for the shelter until September 2013, which makes Prajwala the only officially legal rehabilitation shelter in Andhra Pradesh. Efforts are continuously being made to make the shelter a truly healing, rehabilitative space where strong, self-reliant and capable young women emerge to take control of their lives and pursue the dreams that they themselves define.

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