Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India

by Snehalaya 'Home of Love'
Play Video
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India
Our kids with Aamir, Kiran Rao and Girish on set
Our kids with Aamir, Kiran Rao and Girish on set

Yesterday was the first day of the school year here in India and thanks to your support our children were among those celebrating ‘School Chale Hum’ (We’re off to school) celebrations across the country. We were really pleased to welcome more children from our local communities to our Snehalaya English Medium School where we are breaking down the stigmas facing our children by integrating them with mainstream students. It’s a particularly important year for our school as our first year of 10 Std students will face their final school exams and we are hoping they will do as well as this year’s students who attend local schools.

We are hoping they can match Mayur, our top scorer in this year’s 10th Std exams with 71.2%. When you consider how sick he was when he arrived with us just over a year ago this result is all the more impressive. So many of our children need to balance their studies with regular visits to the hospital and your support goes a long way towards funding after school tuition and encouraging them to do their best.

Now he has completed 10 Std he is ready to enrol in college and start focusing on his 12 Std exams which will take him into higher education. Like many other 16-17 year olds he is debating which subject area to focus on – arts, commerce, science, etc - and with a natural talent for languages in considering also doing a diploma in French.

We are hoping he will do as well as Baghyashree who received 82% in her 12th Std this year and will be enrolling in an arts degree in the next few weeks. She is so smart and also loves extracurricular activities, especially sport. All of which will help her in achieving her ambition of becoming a police officer.

While Mayur and Baghyashree are focused on where their futures lie some of our other children need more support and guidance in preparing to face the world, For our younger kids, it's been about making sure they have the basic reading, writing and maths skills which will help them at school while our older children have been focused on their future otions with career guidance, talks from professionals and exosure visits to colleges. An annual activity on our calendar this year we are pleased that we have been able to encourage more of our girls to consider STEM subjects with five scholarships to a mechanical engineering college specifically on offer to our beneficiaries.

In a similar vein we also organised a visit to a film studio for our children interested in a career in film and TV. We were lucky enough to go behind the scenes to see Indian superstar Aamir Khan interview our founder, Girish in a popular TV show tackling drought in India through a movement in which we are partners with Aamir’s Paani Foundation. This helped the children to see the options available behnd the camera as well as in front of it. The trip to the TV studio was followed by a quick visit to the Mumbai shoreline, which for many of the kids involved was their first ever sight of the ocean. It really was a trip to remember in a summer full of inspiration and dream building for the future.

With 60 million children missing out on school in India we are truly grateful for your support which not only allows our children to receive their full 12 years of education but also gives them the confidence to dream big and overcome the odds to achieve great results, thank you!

Do you remember seeing the sea for the first time?
Do you remember seeing the sea for the first time?
Old McDonald - ee ay ee ay ohhhhhhhhh
Old McDonald - ee ay ee ay ohhhhhhhhh

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Prosperity for the Year?
Prosperity for the Year?

Happy Holi and a big thank you for providing so much colour to our beneficiaries lives.

Remember what it was like when sitting your exams was just around the corner? After 8pm its study time here at Snehalaya and you can hear a pin drop as the kids begin to prepare for their up and coming exams. As you know at Snehalaya we are committed to stopping second generation prostitution and this we have successfully done since the opening of the Rehabilitation Centre in 1989. We believe that education is a powerful tool in society and we are equipping the kids with what is essential to take into their futures so they won’t be exploited like so many of their mothers have been. We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing the best of luck to all the students at this important time.

Many of the women who are in the sex work profession for various reasons often find it hard to leave but, as reported last August, we offer the women an escape route by setting them up in small businesses through our Sneha-Saksham program. One such lady who took up this offer is Sonali. After years of suffering abuse and hardship, for the sake of her daughter she left the red light area to begin a new life by starting her own tea and snacks stall. Hear her inspirational story in her own words in the short film made for ‘International Women’s Day’ below.

There is one date in the calendar that will offer some light relief at exam time and that is the Holi Festival (Festival of Colour) which is being celebrated today.The major Hindu festival welcomes in the spring because it is believed the season is full of color, and that’s exactly what you see as colors of all varieties are poured over anyone who happens to be standing nearby. transforming them into a human rainbow! This festival of joy is always eagerly anticipated at Snehalaya as special sweets are distributed giving the kids the sugar rush they need to dance for hours covered with every color you can imagine.

We are also preparing to meet and greet our new batch of volunteers from University of Leeds, UK. This year has seen people from all over the globe come to offer their skills and help with the further education and development of the Snehalaya children. We carefully screen and select volunteers who can contribute relevant skills and experience and this year's successful applicants provided cultural exchanges from Germany, Switzerland, Basque Country and for the first time - China. English teachers, Bobo and Jessie introduced the kids to their culture by celebrating Chinese New Year. The kids were shown how to use chopsticks, made dumplings, had their names written in Chinese, created special lantern cards and all were given lucky red envelopes containing Yen. The kids had a great time as well as savoring a whole new experience courtesy of our friends from China.

Snehalaya wants to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and for being part of our family. You are making the difference by helping us to continue with our life changing work. If you are interested in volunteering please visit the relevant page of our website as linked below.

Can You Play Chopsticks?
Can You Play Chopsticks?
How Big Can A Smile Get?
How Big Can A Smile Get?
Flying Colours
Flying Colours

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Santa proved a hit last year
Santa proved a hit last year

Thank you for your support of our project this year. We simply couldn’t do what we do without your backing so on behalf of those whose lives you are improving may we wish you and your loved ones all the best for the new year.

As 2018 draws to a close we would also like to share some of the highlights of the year with you. As you can see from our Review of 2018 video below, our beneficiaries are as diverse as our projects and you are helping to put the smiles you see on their faces. You are also helping us to advocate for change through our work with global campaigns for girls education and to end trafficking as well as more localised work we do for women and child rights.

We won’t stop until every woman and child has the equal right to live a life free from cruelty, discrimination and violence and we hope you stick with us next year and beyond.

In the meantime as Christmas day approaches our children are getting very excited. Last year Father Christmas visited our Rehabiliation Center giving our children a day to remember with oranges and chocolates left in the stockings they put up on their beds on Christmas Eve. We don't want to let them down this year and need your help to make sure they experience the magic again..

The good news is we are currently taking part in GlobalGiving’s End of Year campaign and are in the top ten on the leader board. We need your help to keep us there and make sure we qualify to win bonus prizes that will buy these small gifts and help us to continue our good work in 2019. 

Finally we would like to take the opportunity to wish you a very merry festive season and a happy new year.

We hope Santa comes again this year
We hope Santa comes again this year
Give before 31 Dec & make you donation go further
Give before 31 Dec & make you donation go further

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Wishing you all the best
Wishing you all the best

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and joyful Diwali.

We are already feeling very festive here at Snehalaya as we mark the start of the Hindu festival of lights – the Sanskrit Dipavali means row of lamps. Symbolising the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”, the five day festival literally lights up India as temples, homes, shops and offices shine brightly with a rainbow of glittering lights, flickering candle flames and explosive fireworks displays.

Following tradition, our beneficiaries have been busy preparing by cleaning and decorating their rooms with rangoli  decorations. In another, more local tradition they have also been building killas (forts) as part of a holiday competition sponsored by our local Lions club. Winners will be announced at the special annual Diwali celebration the club hosts for us next week.

It is also a time for family, the equivalent of Christmas, Eid or Hannukah, and in the coming few days we will be working hard to collect new clothes and sweet treats to enable them to enjoy a traditional celebration similar to those taking part in homes throughout the sub-continent. As well as lighting diyas (oil lamps or candles), offering puja (worship) to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, setting off fireworks and enjoying our ‘family’ feasts, with mithai (sweets) and gifts, we also have a few special Snehalaya events planned.

We have already distributed new saris to our female sex workers and launched Diwali in one of our slum projects, in a week or so we will also welcome our former beneficiaries to come ‘home’ for our annual reunion. A real family affair, it allows former beneficiaries the chance to catch up and reminisce, receive gifts and meet new members of each other’s families. Last night we enjoyed a special night of entertainment put on by our children with some competitions, beautiful singing, dancing and a bit of improv. We have a full schedule of activities to keep our children busy during their school holidays with more competitions, traditional cooking preparations, workshops and activities and guest programs. They will also be creating their own decorations and playing sports. We are excited about the rest of the celebration and invite you to join in by watching some of our Diwali video highlights below.

Thank you for being a part of our family and on behalf of our beneficiaries may we wish you all the best for the festive season and the year ahead.

Our children's forts are so detailed
Our children's forts are so detailed
Mehndi is another Diwali tradition
Mehndi is another Diwali tradition

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Sharda
Sharda

Here at Snehalaya we've been working to improve the lives of female sex workers since 1989, motivated by the question our founder, Dr Girish Kulkarni, asked himself when taking a short cut through a red light area: "What if this was my sister, my mother, my grandmother?". With this question at the forefront of our minds, we are constantly assessing how we can best help sex workers in the Ahmednagar region.

Your support has enabled us to achieve transformative results in recent years:

  • 100% reduction in second generation prostitution
  • 0 underage sex workers in the Ahmednagar district
  • 96% reduction in STDs since 2005
  • 100% condom use among sex workers

For 30 years we have been providing shelter and education to the children of sex workers, breaking the vicious cycle of second generation sex work, and providing free health check-ups and human rights to the workers. We have also counseled and encouraged them to seek alternative work and leave the profession with limited success. A little over a year ago, in June 2017, we saw the need for a new, more targeted, project for Ahmednagar's female sex workers, and so we established Sneh-Saksham to go one step further and offer them more varied ways out.

We started by surveying 200 of Ahmednagar's 876 registered FSWs to identify those wishing to leave sex work and find out what would motivate them. We found that 38 of them wished to leave immediately, while another 124 wanted to develop a supplemental income that would offer more options in the future. Challenges included a 75% illiteracy rate among them, psychological damage and social stigmas, however we were determined to overcome them. Thus, Sneh-Saksham was born. We decided to focus our efforts on 200 women a year, prioritising those over 35 whose earnings are reduced to as little as US$1.50 per day, those with teenage children most a risk in red light areas and those living with HIV/AIDS.

In the 14 months since the project was established, we've been working hard to identify new opportunities for female sex workers, including both paid employment and self-employment, whilst also providing free counselling, de-addiction programs, training and business start-up materials. By offering sustainable incomes tailored to their own domestic situations and skills, we are extending FSWs working lives and improving their socio-economic status, quality of life and life expectancy. It also allows them to move away from the red-light areas and be reunited with their children who live in our shelter home and help improve their childhood development

We've already successfully rehabilitated and empowered 10 female sex workers, providing them with the opportunity to work in safer, more dignified environments. We couldn't have helped these women without your support, and so we'd like to introduce to you some of the women whose lives you have helped transform.

Sharda lives in the town of Korpargoan where she worked as a sex worker for over 40 years. Sharda wished to leave sex work for a long time, but having spent her entire adult life in the profession, and limited by her illiteracy, she saw little way out.

Sneh-Saksham worked with Sharda to explore her options, and provided her with the resources and advice that she needed to start her own small business. Sharda now runs her own food stand, selling seasonal fruit and vegetable snacks. She is earning a modest living and living a dignified life, even acting as a peer-mentor to other FSWs wishing to leave the industry.

Vijaya lives in the town of Srirampur and had been working as a sex worker for 30 years since a relative forced her into prostitution. Vijaya had never chosen sex work, and was desperate to leave, but, just like Sharda, she felt imprisoned by her circumstances.

Fortunately, as a registered beneficiary of Snehalaya, Viyaya was able to explain her situation to our Sneh-Saksham team. Having developed partnerships with a number of businesses, entrepreneurs and industrialists, Sneh-Saksham was able to connect Vijaya with a number of potential employers, and prepare her for the first job interview of her life. Vijaya was nervous and unconfident, but with Sneh-Saksham's training and advice, she passed her interview with flying colours, and was swiftly offered a job working in the kitchen of a local hotel. Vijaya has now started a new life for herself, having moved away from the red-light district, and enjoys her new profession, as well as being part of the hotel team. Vijaya is now confident and proud, almost unrecognisable from the woman that we first met.

While Sunita was working as a sex worker in Nagar, she fell pregnant and gave birth to a son named Suraj. When Suraj was just 5 years old Sunita realized he was at-risk living with her in Nagar's dangerous red light district, and she gave her blessing for him to be brought to live at our children's home. Sunita did her best to visit Suraj as often as she could, but was restricted by her pimp who wanted her to work.

When Sneh-Saksham surveyed Sunita in 2018 she was among those expressing their desire to leave sex work immediately. Keen to both rehabilitate Sunita, and reunite her permanently with the now teenage Suraj , Sneh-Saksham was able to offer Sunita the opportunity to work in Snehalaya's new Caring Friend's Hospital, on the same campus as our children's shelter home.

Sunita is now living alongside women who have experienced similar situations, surrounded by supportive friends, and, most importantly, she is with her son. These days you will find Sunita constantly smiling as she works hard to keep our hospital pristinely clean. Meanwhile, Suraj is over the moon to be reunited with his Mum, and visibly proud of her new vocation.

Without your support and belief in our work, we wouldn't have been able to provide these strong and courageous women with an alternative to the dangers of sex work. You can help us to continue to rescue and rehabilitate more women just like Sharda, Vijaya and Sunita from the harsh realities of India's sex trade by donating to our projects.

What if it were your mother, your sister, your grandmother?

Vijaya
Vijaya
Sunita
Sunita

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Snehalaya 'Home of Love'

Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Snehalaya
Project Leader:
Joyce Connolly
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra India
$211,019 raised of $255,450 goal
 
2,489 donations
$44,431 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Snehalaya 'Home of Love' has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.