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Rescue 615 sex workers & at-risk children in India

by Snehalaya 'Home of Love'
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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
Holi provided a welcome break from exam revision.
Holi provided a welcome break from exam revision.

Mortality at all time low

We have amazing news! Thanks to your support we are incredibly happy to say that for the first time in our 27-year history we have completed the financial year without enduring the heartbreak of reporting that one or more of our beneficiaries has died as a result of HIV or AIDS. This is the lowest our child HIV mortality rate has ever been.

You should take credit in knowing that your support has directly enabled us to make some simple but significant changes in the support and care we offer. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to improve our Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART), introduce more exercise into daily routines to delay beginning drug treatment and adapt our menus introducing more vitamins and nutrition from our farm grown produce. Also very importantly our record-keeping to monitor beneficiary development and identify any issues earlier has been improved.

Healthier longer, fitter and stronger

Although the introduction of organic food direct from our Himmatgram (find out more about our farm project here) means we now know what is going into our food, following consultation with a dietitian we are taking further steps to increase fruit, nuts and dairy into our meals whilst continuing to reduce salt and sugar intakes. This is important, along with regulated meal timings, to maintain the effectiveness of our ART medication.

We all know that exercise is good for you and the children here love to take part in recreational and competitive activities. On top of traditional Indian games such as Kabbadi, we’ve introduced football and volleyball. Being active is not only good for the body, it’s good for the spirit. Most Olympians couldn’t match the pride that our Balbhavan children experienced when they swept the board with 80% of the prizes at our Inter-sports day.

Educating for Empowerment

We believe it is our responsibility to equip our children with the life skills they will need to stand on their own feet once they leave our care. Living in the World’s largest democracy we know that educating them on their rights to have their say on their lives and environment is essential. Therefore, we are proud to announce the inauguration of our Child Parliament.

Following consultation, our children, with support and guidance from a Bangalore NGO with a similar initiative, created their own government structure and held independent elections. All 11 dormitories now have a Chief Minister and a Cabinet made up of Health, Education, Cultural, Sport, Law and Opposition Ministers, who each have two helpers, ensuring that everyone has a role to play.

The Chief Ministers, Cabinet and full Parliament all meet separately, twice a month, consulting with their constituents to bring forward matters for wider discussion or the attention of our staff. The children are absolutely loving being able to have their say and air their issues openly and we are learning so much more about how we can better support and develop them. With dedicated representatives able to directly discuss issues with those experiencing them, they are also finding their own solutions to problems and we are reaping the rewards with radical rises in school and exercise attendance.

It’s inspiring how seriously they take their personal development and education and for the past few month many have been studiously revising for their State Board exams. We have 17 children currently taking 10th standard exams and eight their 11th standard. We are expecting great things from them and to help them achieve this we arranged Skype meetings with an educational counsellor from Mumbai and guest lectures and motivational talks from exceptional local teachers. Some also took mock examinations giving them invaluable to build their confidence. They will receive their final results in June.

This commitment is why we already have 34 students currently enrolled in college and once exams are over we are planning visits to further and higher education institutions so our 10th and 11th standard students can investigate their own career choices. You can read more and support our education programme here.

Priya says thank you in becoming a local leader

One former beneficiary who realised her career dreams is Priya, who devastatingly lost both her parents to HIV. Staying with relatives in a small village near Ahmednagar shortly afterwards, she also fell sick. Lab tests confirmed Priya was HIV+ and suffering from tuberculosis. She was outcast by her own family and villagers, her schooling was stopped and everyone started telling her that she too would die soon.

Priya was shattered, not so much at the thought of death, but at being unable to fulfil her ambition of joining the Police. When we heard her tragic story we reached out to her, bringing her to Snehalaya for medical treatment and some much needed emotional and moral support. We encouraged Priya to continue her studies, providing books, tuition and physical training, so that once she passed the state exams she could compete with other candidates to qualify for Police training.

Priya is India’s first known HIV+ policewoman, setting a great example for the many other boys and girls at Snehalaya who are studying hard to achieve their own career dreams without discrimination. With your continued support we know we can create many more role models like Priya.

Many thanks for staying a constant support to Snehalaya so we can continue to improve the lives of all of our beneficiaries and, like Priya, ensure they acheive their ambitions.

Priya's Police Passing Out Parade.
Priya's Police Passing Out Parade.
The children take turns to prepare Sunday dinners.
The children take turns to prepare Sunday dinners.
Our Child Parliament represents all ages.
Our Child Parliament represents all ages.

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#HerVoice - Stop The Violence (Nov-Dec 2015)

  • 40,000 of you signed to petition the Indian Government to address rape culture at local and judicial level
  • We collected over £15,500 in donations since Nov with 50% match funding running until 31st December
  • Malala's documentary 'He Named Me Malala' was screened to girls and women from slums and red light disctricts across Maharashtra
  • We united with 7 other Indian Charities to really ask people on the streets to support ending Gender Based Violence
  • We were on the TV, Radio, National and International Newspapers over 30 times for #HerVoice
  • Anna Hazare - Leading Indian Social Activist and UK Member of Parliament Tulip Saddiq both publically supported our cause along with dozens of other high profile individuals

The Hard Statistics - A child goes missing every 8minutes.  A death over dowry occurs every 102mins and a rape every 34mins.  Many women face domestic violence and martial rape, not knowing it is a crime. In India the stark reality is even before birth girls face prejudice with many private medical practioners still offering illegal 'selective sex abortions' to the point that the sex ratio of boys to girls in India is disproportionately unbalanced.  As a girl education is often seen as a wasted investment as marriage will mean losing you to another family.  Only 48% of girls make it into secondary education and only 2% complete 12th standard.  

Snehalaya actively fight these statistics daily by remaining a place of trust, refuge and rehabilitation for people whatever their circumstances.  

If you are in a position to donate even £5 per month please do so here now DONATE NOW

You can also support by signing our #HerVoice petition to urge the Indian government to tighted existing protection laws in India and actively address rape culture so no girls have to face what Reshma faced. SIGN PETITION 

Take Reshma - at 11 her father died and she was raped by her step father.  She ran away only to be raped by the taxi driver who also sold her to a brothel.  With your help and support from Childline we tracked down where she was captive and conducted a sting rescue and brought her to Snehalaya, Reshma's home for the last 3 years.   With councelling in an environment where she is supported and believed, she has managed to work through her losses and find comfort knowing she is not alone.  She has even reached 8th standard doing well at school. Reshma hopes to become a police officer to protect girls from enduring what she had to go through.  

It costs £92 to perform a sting operation to rescue minors from sex trafficking and it costs £54 a month to keep girls like Reshma safe in our long term care. You have helped and we hope you will continue to do so.  Any donation you make TODAY ONLY will be matched by 50% meaning you give £10 we get £15.  

Many thanks for staying a constant support to Snehalaya so we can continue to help girls like Reshma.

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Sunitha is doing the best job at being Mum
Sunitha is doing the best job at being Mum

The word 'Mother' is a powerful one.  The world over people recognise the most important and pivotal person in their live as their Mother, often revered more then deity.  

Women, play a vital role the world over, in the family as provider, supporter and nurturer and in the world at large with 90% of the working hours being fulfilled by a women (at 10% of the worlds pay).  A 13% drop in vulnerable employment for women worldwide is encouraging.  In politics the proportion of women in parliament has doubled.  In education we are closer then ever in reaching more of our children.  Gender equality for Women now more then ever seems attainable, or does it?  Sadly when you’re in an abusive situation nothing else matters.  In India 3 out of  4 girls don’t finish secondary education, a rape occurs every 20 minutes and dowry deaths and honour killings go unpunished.  It’s time to change that. 

Our rescue projects work across the board to bring Gender Equality and if you are a women in India as far as we are concerned it's ok to be pregant and alone, it's no big deal if you are homeless and destitute, we don't judge if you are making your money from sex work and have a heroin addiction, if you are burned, mamed, scarred physically or just in a bad way - we don't see that first.  We see you are in need of our services and we will not push you to explain your situation, we will just offer you all we can to help you get to a safe point and to get back to living the life you imagined in your better moments.

The world needs a change.  It's me, it's you, it's all of us that can bring that change - Malala New York UN summit 25th September 2015

Take Sunitha.  She is the best person in our organisation to support our younger boys get along in school and to mentor our adolscent girls through their difficult years.  She is training to be a nurse and she is the best person because she knows first hand how ugly the scars of Gender Inequality can look like.  We just see a tower of resiliance and a great mother for our children who have come to us in need of some maternal love.

Join the action.  Sign the #hervoice petition and follow the campaign in Nov 9 - Dec 7.  It's full of practical ways to make change in India possible.  Keep supporting all the NGO's striving for gender equality.  The world's better united, bring back our women.

Running 9th Nov - 7th Dec...do your bit for change
Running 9th Nov - 7th Dec...do your bit for change
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Our Founders Quote
Our Founders Quote

***Calendar Reminder :75% Matchfunding on ALL donation made at 2pm Wednesday 15th July***

50% matchfunding 25% giftaid matching While Funds Last!

As you know Snehalaya is a 'Home of Love'.  We support women, children and LGBT to find a safe exit point from poverty and the commercial sex industry.  To gain access to our communities we need to build trust with operators on both sides of the sex industry.  This process can take many years to establish.  We deploy innovative approaches to keep finding a safe way in to reaching our hard to reach clients so we can help them. 

Our Rehabilitation Centre is not full of recovering addicts, it is more a safe haven and place of sanctuary to nurture people who have been treated as societies rejects.  It is filled with hope because the people who are with us are no longer being used and abused.  They have room to breath, room to heal.  We rehabilitate them back to good health.

Snehalaya is more then an organisation, we are a strong passionate family of people united in the belief that no one should stand alone.  Many in our staff first came to us as beneficiaries by needing use of our services.  We understand resilience - the desire to survive, is an extraordinary force.  A sense of belonging and compassion can nurture even the most destitute and fragile people to survive and go on to thrive in life. We join hands and welcome everyone without prejudice.  

We stand together, united as a family for justice and liberty.  

For more information on this project please read our Monthly Project Report attached. 

 

***Calendar Reminder :75% Matchfunding on ALL donation made at 2pm Wednesday 15th July***

50% matchfunding 25% giftaid matching While Funds Last!

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Big smiles from the kids at our daycare centres
Big smiles from the kids at our daycare centres

"I have a gift for you!" exclaimed Habib when on my last day in India I was on a stage infront of all his contemporaries (300 children live at our shelter and know it as home).  As I handed him his much deserved Certificate he flashed his usual confident cheeky smile, head ever so slightly wobbling with excitement.  

Habib aged 15 back then had just completed a film making workshop and was a vocal and passionate pupil during our 4 week course.  He had come to the centre aged 6 from Mumbai where we had been living and begging on a train station.  He pressed a lovingly made hand written document into my hand and held onto it tightly as he passed it over.  'From my heart, Meera Didi' he said.  

If you promise not to cry you can read the words he gave me at the end of this report.

2 years on and Habib is now living independantly in regular contact and full of skills and working in an Interior Design Office.  He is a smart dresser and proudly returns to the centre for offical ceremonies where he is our voluntary offical photographer (he participated in our 6 week photography workshop in 2009 and has the certificate to proove it).

Snehalaya works with Childline to rescue so many children and people at risk and gives them a real chance of leading a life full of self worth, pride and ambition.  Habib speaks volumes for the benefit of continuing this work.  

Our rehab centre is the heart of our organisation and our flagship project.  We run over 15 projects in rural India working with the countries hidden population that go uncounted and uncared for.  We are changing that.

We have 350 children in our care and 50 women.  We offer dorm living, food, shelter, education, medication, and a family.  We run as a family and it's in our name 'Snehalaya' means 'Home of Love'.  To sponsor a child like Habib costs $800/year.  We feed our beneficaries from our own farm and many of our house mothers came to us themselves as beneficaries.  

So far we have raised over $40,000 in under 11 months on globalgiving for this project.  This is remarkable and forms about 50% of our annual running costs for this project so thank you.  Without supporters like you we simply could not help all that need us.  Often how a child comes to us is a traumatic event and with intervention, how they leave is a whole other story and often on their own two feet knowing we are always here for them forever.

Thank you! www.snehalaya.org 

Habib has a few words to say too, his gift to us all.  Warning, these made me cry:

“My Feelings about Snehalaya” Habib, 17

Who is a mother? She is the person who gives us birth & shows us the world. She also is responsible for our present care and future struggles in many ways. God’s beautiful creation in this world is mother. But it’s my bad luck that I neither was unable to see the face of my mother nor could I sit on her lap. I am Habib Sheik, I am 17 years old and I have called Snehalaya my home and my family since I was 6 years old.

I was born in the Mumbai city by the mot her whose face I haven’t seen. From a very early age I had to face life without parents, but today, whatever I am is only because of my lovely home “Snehalaya”. Snehalaya took the role of my parents and also made my career. If Snehalaya didn’t come in my life I would have got the life of beggar on Mumbai railway platforms. I am thankful to god that my mother handed me over to Snehalaya my home of love.

I consider Dr. Girish Kulkarni Sir as my Godfather having been brought up here since my childhood. He is not a Godfather for me alone but also several kids like me. He isn’t just a father in title alone as we can ask for each and every thing to him as we would to our own parent. I also have to mention our great personality Ambadas Chauhan Sir who is lovingly called Ba not only as a name’s sake either for he truly devotes his life for kids like me too. Due to this to great people in Snehalaya we don’t feel we are without parents.

Snehalaya has not only given me a sustainable life, but also taught me to be a great person in life. Snehalaya motivated my life, taught me to see the dreams and also gave strength in my wings to fly freely in the sky. Snehalaya shaped me in the way as the potter does with the clay. It has brought real meaning to my life. Snehalaya has really given an unexpected path and values in my life that I can never forget forever. Really the day’s I spent with Snehalaya will always be unforgettable for me. I want to do some thing outstanding with my life and I want to help Snehalaya in my future. Once again I really thank Snehalaya for making my career & my life.

                                                                                                                                             Lots of thanks! Habib

 

 

 

Habib loves to pose!
Habib loves to pose!
Miranda (trustee) & Habib (beneficary)
Miranda (trustee) & Habib (beneficary)

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Organization Information

Snehalaya 'Home of Love'

Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Snehalaya
Project Leader:
Joyce Connolly
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra India
$211,069 raised of $255,450 goal
 
2,490 donations
$44,381 to go
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