Snehalaya - A home and a heaven for women and children
There are some organizations that really make a difference to the lives of many deprived women and children. Snehalaya is one such foundation that aims to develop awareness and capability in such sections of the society that have been victims of inequality and exploitation. Every single day, it conducts several vibrant activities to better the lives of many individuals and the society at large.
Snehalaya works towards achieving its mission by supporting over 400 homeless and destitute children in residential homes, providing shelter and vocational training to above 60 distressed women, giving education to more than 900 slum-children, empowering and rehabilitating over 2100 sex workers to lead a better life, providing medical treatment for over 6000 HIV + men and women every year and many such social initiatives. Started by an ardent band of youth volunteers in 1989, today it has 30 full-time workers, hundreds of volunteers and countless well-wishers. This NGO was officially registered in 1992 in Ahmednagar (Maharashtra) and is currently working in all the 14 Tehsils of the same district, as well as quite a few nearby districts such as Solapur, Nasik etc. Led by Dr.Girish Kulkarni, this foundation was established with the belief- “They alone live, who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive!”
Snehalaya has set a new example altogether by doing something extraordinarily philanthropic, something that perhaps few NGOs have succeeded in doing. It has built a shelter for the children of the sex workers, providing them with the basic amenities of accommodation, food, clothing, education etc. they have devoted their services primarily centred around women and children, since generally they are the most marginalized sections of the society. The ones that are most victimised perhaps are the girls forced into prostitution. Even if they are not able to escape the tragedy of their lives, they would dread their daughters to inherit the same fortune, and this is what Snehalaya attempts to prevent. It rather endeavours to give them a good start in life, and opportunities to develop his/her individual capabilities.
Amongst its many projects are its rehabilitation centre that houses HIV infected women and children, children of prostitutes, minors that were rescued from the flesh trade, and other such deprived sections. It also runs ‘Balbhawans’ for children in slums, besides organising activities for them such as playgroup education, health check-up camps, tuitions etc. Under this scheme, almost 900 children are receiving fundamental education. Another of their services, Child Line, is a 24-hour toll-free helpline through which children can inform their plight to the NGO and seek help. Through its Snehjyoth Mukta Project, it runs dispensaries for women who are sexually exploited, especially those in the red light areas. It provides them with health-care facilitites, regular counselling, saving groups etc.
The Community Care Centre run by Snehalaya was started in 2008, and it gives treatment to HIV patients. It runs a full-fledged hospital with ample number of medical practitioners and staff as well as good-quality facilities. The Youth Sensitization Camp that serves to nurture a sense of social harmony, unity and other such virtues amongst the young boys and girls, as well as Snehalaya’s IT Center that provides computer education, personality development and spoken English classes to the children from red light areas are a couple of its other services that it offers.
The society needs many more such organizations that work for the welfare of the minority women and children, so that they are empowered to contribute actively towards creating a better world for them and for us all.
For more information, visit their website: http://www.snehalaya.org