Prerana is a path-breaking initiative to show the red light to Mumbai’s red-light areas, says Queency Raichada
‘Prerana’ means inspiration in Hindi and Sanskrit. It is also the name of a Mumbai-based non-profit organisation which works against human trafficking.
Children born in the red-light areas get trapped into a vicious circle; they are eventually forced into prostitution, generation after generation. This cycle needs to be broken, to give innocent young lives the opportunity to be masters of their own destiny. Prerana provides exactly this opportunity to children of prostitutes to break away from a demeaning profession and live life on their own terms.
Founded in 1986 by Pravin and Priti Patkar, Prerana celebrates 28 years of fighting injustice and protecting rights of women/children who are victims, or potential victims, of prostitution. “Human trafficking is one of the biggest criminal activities and India is one of the main destinations for this,” says Priti Patkar who chose to join the fight to put an end commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking (CSE&T) many decades ago.
She and her husband began with setting up a night care centre at Kamathipura, a notoriously squalid red-light area of Mumbai. The idea was to provide a safe ‘home away from home’ environment to vulnerable children of prostitutes. The initiative sought to ensure that the second generation is not exposed to the exploitation of their mothers. It was a revolutionary idea then and has achieved success and recognition.
A year after it was set up, Prerana conceptualised an institutional placement programme (IPP), to provide long-term residential care and development of the children of sex workers.
Former US President James A Garfield once said, “Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.” Identifying with this belief, Prerana initiated an education support programme (ESP) for the children living in red-light areas to ensure social mainstreaming. But merely educating actual/potential victims was not enough. Prerana wanted to be involved in stopping exploitation, so it started an anti-trafficking centre (ATC) and went on to set up the Naunihal Girl’s Shelter for children in dire need of protection and rehabilitation. Finally, its post-rescue operation (PRO) initiative provides professional intervention for rescued victims of sexual exploitation. This includes emergency aid, legal help and, later, counselling, social integration and livelihood opportunities for those seeking to rebuild their lives.
Prerana partners with other NGOs and corporates and receives monetary and non-monetary assistance for its work. Johnson & Johnson helps Prerana with some of its activities. The Blue Star Foundation provides health insurance for up to 200 children. Goldman Sachs helps organise team work activities, and so on. ADM Capital Foundation is an important NGO partner with which Prerana has a joint initiative called ‘Aarambh’ which addresses issues related to sexual exploitation of children from multiple perspectives.
Over the years, Prerana has expanded its reach to over 10,000 children. It has shifted 1,500 children from the red-light areas to welfare institutions. It shelters 250 children on any given night at its three night care centres and covers 1,800 children through a comprehensive educational support programme.
Good work never goes un-noticed and Prerana has received many awards from organisations like UNAIDS and The International STAR Impact Award. It is also a source of knowledge for several national and international organisations, such as UNICEF, UNDP, UNODC, Maharashtra State Commission for Women, Asian Development Bank, and the state and Union government.
Prerana’s work requires a steady supply of caring volunteers and funds. You can help Prerana by donating or joining its mission to stop exploitation. “If you want to see the change, be a part of it,” says Ms Patkar.
Donations to Prerana are tax-exempt under Section 80-G.
Khetwadi Municipal School (Dagdishala) Behind Alankar Theatre
1st Lane, Khetwadi, Grant Road (East), Mumbai 400 004
Phone: +91 22 2387 7637
Email: [email protected]
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