Seema’s Project 2014.
This is a project of ‘The Free to Live Trust’ (TFTLT- SC045423) working in collaboration with the Waghmode Foundation an Indian Non-Governmental Organisation( NGO) based close to the city of Pune, India in the district of Maharashtra.
The project is based in Bori, a village at Baramati in district of Maharashtra.
The two main objectives to this project are:
- To build a home for forty children who are the abandoned offspring of trafficked sex workers and to provide funds to meet the initial running costs of the home. It is hoped that if funding allows more children will be rescued.
- To rescue commercial sex workers (CSW) who have been trafficked and who would like to start a new life free from exploitation and sexual violence.
The Waghmode Foundation.
Rev Haribhau Waghmode Patil Pratishthan (RHWPP) was founded in 2005 and registered under BPT act 1950 number F-20332 and FCRA Act 1976 number 083930502.
RHWPP provides health education programmes to schools and communities under the Pune Municipal Corporation raising health awareness amongst Commercial Sex Workers (CSW), truckers, police, slum dwellers and children.
RHWPP cares for the children of the CSW on Kayakalpa’s premises. RHWPP has a staff of five for the children’s care.
Background to Kayakalpa
Is the sister organisation of the Waghmode Patil Trust. Its offices are located in the Red Light District, Rameshwar Market, Budhwar Peth, Pune. Kayakalpa was established in 1993 and registered under BPT Act 1950 number E-1795 and Societies Act 1890.
It provides community based support in the Pune District for CSW.
The organisation has 20 years experience of providing health education, health checkups and regular testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), other sexually transmitted infections (STD’s) and general health needs of sex workers. Kayakalpa is monitored by National Aids Control Organization (NACO).
Funding for its programmes is from local and international donations. Kayakalpa has also advocated on behalf of the commercial sex workers since 1993 to increase the living standards and conditions for the workers. Kayakalpa staff includes accountants, counsellors, peer educators, and medical officers.
Research in India has shown that an alarming 81% of the children of CSW remain in the brothels or are left to roam the streets. These children are malnourished, at risk of physical and sexual violence and have no access to education or health care. Boys as well as girls are at risk of being forced into prostitution.
The children are ostracized and badly treated by the community and the police due to the stigma of being the children of CSW. In view of these findings Kayakalpa began to care for these children in 2006.
In 2009 full time care of the children passed to RHWPP. The children are provided with a nutritional diet, access to education and health. The accommodation is not fit for purpose. There are two cramped rooms above the offices of Kayakalpa with limited sanitation. At night, for their own safety, the children are locked behind an iron gate.
At weekends, there was a drop-in feeding programme for street children in the area. Around a hundred children attended each day which reflects the level of need.
Bori Project Outline
A five acre piece of land for this home and the rehabilitation centre has been acquired by RHWPP.
The plan for the building has been upgraded to meet the Indian Government’s requirements. This will make government funding a possibility in the future.
This is an ideal location for the children who will be away from dangers of alcohol, drugs and violence. They will be able to enjoy the countryside environment well away from those who would wish to abuse them. The children will attend the local primary school and have access to medical care in the village.
As the children mature there will be opportunities to further their education and learn skills to help them find jobs when they leave school. This will reduce exposure to human traffickers and exploitation. Young boys can grow up in an environment where they learn the value of human relationships and to respect women and girls.
Transport will be provided by the project to facilitate visits from any of the children’s mothers who wish to make the journey to Bori.
Although the possibility of adoption was discussed, this is not thought to be a viable option as would-be parents have concerns about the child of a CSW because of the stigma and the risk of HIV infection.
The Rehabilitation Centre
Currently over 90% of the women and girls in the red-light district of Pune are victims of human trafficking. Seema Waghmode has already rescued many girls over the past years.
Most of the CSW are under the age of 25 years, many are minors. The average useful working life expectancy of these girls is 5 to 7 years. Many become infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. They are subjected to physical and sexual violence; some are hired out for the weekend and subjected to gang rape. Seema has wanted for many years to rescue the trafficked victims and offer them rehabilitation. Bori is the ideal site for such a project well away from the brothels.
The project hopes to rescue 15-20 girls per annum. The rehabilitation programme is expected to last around a year. The girls will leave equipped to take a job either locally or to return home to work.
The project will provide two buildings: the first to house the women, the second for a training facility for cottage industries. Both will be around 1,200 sq. ft.
The training facility will provide skills in the following areas:
- Literacy and numeracy
- Sewing and dressmaking
- Soft toy making
- Market gardening e.g. pomegranate /other fruit and veg
- Pig/Chicken farming
The facility will ensure the girls have access to health care – including psychologists and counsellors- and a social worker. If funding allows additional accommodation blocks will be built.