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Ashaloy Centre

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Ashaloy has been a “House of Hope” for commercial sex workers and their minor children in the heart of Kolkata’s largest red light district, Sonagachi. Children at the Ashaloy Center receive educational opportunities and holistic care. It provides coaching and encouragement for women to leave their trade and pursue a different way of life.

Group counselling for the community’s women is conducted once a week. Additionally, these women also participate in awareness programs that Mahima India organizes every month to educate and equip them with basic knowledge on finding alternative employment and to sensitize them about women’s rights.

Children attending the centre are benefiting from moral lessons, music therapy, computer and life development lessons which help them to cope with their situation. This aside, the Ashaloy Center also runs a weekly health check-up and HIV clinic for children, women and local residents of the Sonagachi community.

Project Need

Ashaloy has been operating out of a rented facility for two years. Earlier this summer, the landlord unexpectedly asked the centre to vacate the property by end of September 2018. The Ashaloy Centre secured a temporary location where they have moved and began operating again.  Meanwhile, JKPS has identified a building for purchase after surveying the community.

This new building JKPS plans on acquiring is strategically located on the periphery of Sonagachi.  The building will provide more space for the centre’s people and programs. The new Ashaloy Centre building is located in an ideal area that will be easily accessible to individuals from the city. Not only is the building accessible, it is also safe for the children and women who frequent the centre to participate in programs and activities. Although the ministry was able to rent in the past and even obtain a temporary space where they work out of currently, renting has been unsettling and resulted in interference with operations. The purchase of a permanent location for the Ashaloy Centre would provide an assurance of continual care for children and women of Sonagachi—without worry of displacement or disruption.    

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