Pro­vid­ing A Right to Life


Sne­ha­laya means ‘Home of Love’, and was founded in 1989 in the Ahmed­na­gar district of Ma­ha­rash­tra to pro­vide sup­port to the women and chil­dren af­fected by HIV and AIDS, be­sides traf­fick­ing and sex­ual vi­o­lence. But even be­fore its in­cep­tion, the founder Girish Kulka­rni had worked com­pas­sion­ately for the women and chil­dren in red light ar­eas. Re­mem­ber­ing his child­hood days, he de­scribes his sen­si­tiv­ity to­wards the is­sue, “Ahmed­na­gar, at that time, had a large army es­tab­lish­ment and wher­ever you had army camps, you were bound to have red light ar­eas. We had four in the cen­tre of the city. So, when­ever I would pass by that area on my way to school, I’d see girls of my age stand­ing there for busi­ness, which would up­set me deeply. But as a stu­dent, I didn’t know what to do to help.” One day, a friend called Girish over to his house. Re­calls a shocked Girish, “I did not know till I ar­rived that it was a brothel where his sis­ter, mother and grand­mother were in­volved in the busi­ness. It was dif­fi­cult to see them in that con­di­tion.”

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