Utkarsha - the night creche Prashikshan - Self Reliance Aashray - short stay home Other initiatives Awards Report
Prashikshan Cuts, Bruises and Stitches

The course was being held right in the middle of budhwar peth - the area where commercial sex workers of Pune do their business. Most of them have been forced into prosititution, were abducted from their families or had run away from home and landed up here. Worst still, some of them were born to mothers who worked in a similar profession in another area or another city. Chaitanya Mahila Mandal, with the full support of Pune Municipal Corporation has recently started running these courses to empower the women. A daring mission has been taken on by Jyotitai Pathania, the founder of the organization. As the women completed the fashion designing course, Jyotitai called me. We must give our dresses to be stitched first, then others will follow! I happily took a dress material given to me by my mother in law. As I joked with the woman who took my measurements, about my 'standard' size.. she suggested that I stitch a churidar rather than a salwar to make me look slim. In humour, I told her to stitch it well, as my mother in law had given me this material, and I wanted to wear it on my birthday. She candidly asked me 'Sasu log aise hoti hai kya?' I couldnt stop the tears in my eyes. My definition of 'family' was in a swirl as I imagined life in their homes. Living under the eagle eye of the 'house owner' these women are exploited day in and day out. They are made financially dependent, by giving them medicines and money and loans for the children. They are constantly told that they have to repay the loans by working. If one of them runs away, the other probably have to compensate - either physically or financially. Will these courses help them break out of this vicious cycle? Only time will telll. As the famous dialogue goes "Picture abhi baaki hai dost.."

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