Though we as a society still avoid talking about brothels and prostitution, it is not possible to close our eyes to related surmounting issues like human trafficking and the unsafe environments of sex workers. And also pressing is the plight of the children of sex workers who ever so often are unable to break free of this vicious circle.
Gauri Sawant, a 37-year-old transgender activist, has decided to build a home for the children of sex workers, using her own patch of land, with the hope that given the right environment and coupled with love and support, these children can become anything they would want to be, instead of falling back to the cycle.
In case you’re wondering why Gauri looks familiar, think back to the Vicks commercial that came out on Mother’s day.
The underlying story behind the commercial is the true story of Gauri and her daughte. Gayatri, who stood the risk of being sold to an agent after her biological mother passed away, was adopted by Gauri, ensuring her a life full of love and care.
In real life, the idea for building a home for children did not crop up suddenly. A trip into the lanes of Kamathipura, Mumbai’s oldest red-light district, ended up in Gauri stumbling upon something that she would never quite forget.
“My eyes accidently strayed towards a room, where a tiny baby was in the same room as that of a sex worker and a man. The child would have barely been three months old. On questioning the woman later, she asked me whether I would take the responsibility of the child and not let her become a ‘randi’ (sex worker)” Gauri narrates.
The ride back home and the rest of the night was an emotionally painful one for Gauri. “Instead of approaching others, I decided that I will build a home for these children. The thought helped me realize the aptness of the phrase, ‘charity begins at home,’” she says.
Joining hands with her old mentor and friends, Gauri has planned to name the home Nani ka Ghar, which means grandmother’s home, where she hopes that every child will get the love and care they deserve.
“Every individual associates the fondest memories of childhood days with being careless and free in their grandparents’ homes. That’s what I want these children to have,” Gauri adds.
But easier said than done, Gauri, after talking to builders and constructors, figured that building a house in the 1000 sq. feet plot would require a huge chunk of funds, something that she was lacking.
Not someone to back down on seeing the first obstacle and having been through many struggles in life, this time too Gauri doesn’t plan to give up without a fight.
Collaborating with crowdfunding website Milaap, Gauri intends to raise funds towards providing a safe haven for the children. This could be their best shot at escaping the vicious circle their mothers have unfortunately been led to.
Your contribution could help lay the foundation to Gauri’s dream of better shaping the lives of countless children.
You can contribute to Gauri’s campaign for Nani ka Ghar on Milaap here.