What Is This About?
Approximately 250,000 girls and women in India are still dedicated to their local temple deities as "Devadasis" (meaning "servant of God"). This ancient and outlawed yet prevalent practice originally gave Devadasis a comfortable life and high social standing, but began to be abused by the rich and powerful. Over the years, the Devadasi system has resulted in trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women, with almost 64% of these women forced into prostitution to survive.
The Better India and Milaap in association with MASS have initiated a campaign to help these women come out of their current situation.
The first step to empower these women is to train them in various skills such as book keeping, tailoring, making masala powders etc. so that they can independently work with anyone and will have ample job opportunities.
The second important step is to help them set up their own businesses by providing the initial support such as buying buffaloes, sewing machines, kirana shops, etc.
135 Women. Let's Make It Happen. For Them.
Mahila Abhivrudhi Maththu Samrakshana Samsthe (MASS), founded in 1987, is a membership organization for Devadasi women in Belgaum, Karnataka. Its vision is: to eradicate the Devadasi system, and empower exploited women trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation under the guise of the Devadasi practice. The MASS membership drive is facilitated by local governance ‘Panchayat’ bodies and community support. MASS successfully campaigns for benefits from government programs and schemes. Milaap partners with MASS to provide enterprise development loans to former Devadasis trained in sustainable livelihood skills like tailoring, goat-rearing, etc. This empowers them to build small-businesses, achieve financial independence, and educate their children for a better future.
The Better India
The Better India is India's largest platform dedicated to showcasing only positive news from across the country. By doing so, it is catalysing large-scale impact on the ground.