Sunday, July 8, 2012

Taking Up Social Causes

Taking Up Social Causes
NGO Snehalaya has recently start a new venture in Pune to empower the children in slums
-Omkar Ekbote
Snehalaya is an NGO which was founded initially to improve the lives of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. It started its work in the red-light areas of Ahmednagar in 1989 and is currently working in all 14 Tehsils of Ahmednagar and neighboring districts of Nashik, Pune and Solapur. Today, while supporting over 400 homeless destitute children in residential homes, providing shelter and vocational training to more than 60 women in distress, educating over 900 children in slum based Bal-bhavans, empowering and rehabilitating over 2100 commercial sex workers to lead a better life, providing medical treatment for over 6000 HIV men and women every year, managing a 24x7 Childline and rescue operations, regularly saving children and women from abuse, facilitating adoption and placement of hundreds of infants into good families - Snehalaya is a place of vibrant activities that is making a positive difference to peoples’ lives and the society every single day.

“Every child and woman has the right to lead a life, free from discrimination, inequality and exploitation. This is the key to our nation building,” says Dr. Girish Kulkarni, founder, Snehalaya. Snehalaya’s Rehabilitation Center was setup with a vision to address the specific needs of vulnerable children and women in difficult circumstance like destitutes, ex-prisoners, victims of sexual abuse, including those trafficked and rescued from brothels, those who have been rendered homeless due to natural calamities like flood and earthquake, etc., through a home-based holistic and integrated approach. It provides a home, hope and future for more than 350 children and women.

Snehalaya started adoption and rehabilitation of unwed mothers in 2003 as project ‘Snehankur’ within the Rehabilitation Center. It was later expanded and setup as a separate facility for child care and adoption in 2005 as a professionally managed, licensed adoption center. ‘Bal-bhavan’ is a unique model of social change primarily focused on providing education and improving health conditions of the children living in the slums, in and around Ahmednagar. Snehalaya is actively working in these slums for their improvement and rehabilitation, since 2007 and is educating more than 900 students everyday. Snehalaya runs six Bal-bhavans in slums around Ahmednagar town - Sanjaynagar, Dashrathnagar, Mukundnagar, Ramwadi, Bharaskarnagar and Borkarnagar. Snehalaya started a 24 x 7 helpline for children and women in distress in 1996, which was integrated to national childline network in 2003. The CHILDLINE service can be reached by dialing 1098 round the clock - 365 days a year.

On June 15, 2012, Anna Hazare celebrated his 75th birthday in Snehalaya by inaugurating the foundation of the new English medium school in Snehalaya. Anna Hazare also paid a visit to Snehalaya’s dream project, ‘Himmatgram’ at Isalak village near Ahmednagar. Himmatgram is an extension to the Rehabilitation Project which strives to provide a new life to HIV patients by encouraging them to engage in self-sustained farming and dairy activities.

Well-established in Ahmednagar, Snehalaya is now extending its activities in Pune, at Katraj, starting with a ‘Bal-bhavan’ project. Snehalaya believes that the development of the society, no matter how large the city is, lies in the roots of its slums. And this development can be brought about by first empowering the underpreviliged youth living in these slums. An employment guidance and opportunity center at Katraj along with computer training facilities will ensure that every child living in the slum is competent enough to compete with any other child in the city. Along with these primary activities, a ‘Bachat-Gat’ and a library for books will also be established here in due course of time. To inaugurate this project, an event was organised at ‘Nivara Vrudhashram’, Navi Peth, Pune on June 30, 2012. Dr. Girish Kulkarni, founder, Snehalaya, spoke at the event along with social activist and writer, Anil Avchat.
Photo Caption(s):Dr. Girish Kulkarni, founder, Snehalaya

Published Date:  Jul 06, 2012

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