This Children’s Day, let’s choose orange to support the aspirations of children living in brothels
Actress Tnusree Chackraborty and Additional Chief Secretary (WB), Atri Bhattacharya launched the #ShikshaSeUdaan campaign where people are urged to Choose Orange For Education of Children of Sex Workers, an initiative by Udaan, a project of The Art of Living Foundation. The campaign aims to raise awareness regarding the stigma that children of sex workers face and as a result they don’t get access to quality education. Through the campaign Project Udaan aims to give education to the children of Sex Workers. Sri Sri Academy has held hands with Project Udaan to support the campaign.
Over 3 million sex workers reside in India, according to the most recent official count, who continue to live in the major cities across our country, Kolkata’s Sonagachi being Asia’s biggest red-light district. While it’s true that some sex workers are victims of trafficking, others consciously choose to pursue this because of better income and livelihood opportunities. The intense social stigma associated with the flesh trade marginalises sex workers and their children, resulting in the denial of fundamental rights, including access to education and knowledge, health care, housing, social security, and freedom from mental and physical abuse.
The main challenges the children in brothels encounter while pursuing education are listed below:
- Between the ages of 12 and 14, a girl child of a sex worker is expected to start earning to provide for her family, which prevents her from furthering her education.
- After completing formal education, they have no concerns about finding alternative sources of income.
- The husbands of their mothers are agents who usually entice girls for the flesh trade, and their biological father is unknown.
- The red light lane or area has certain restrictions and regulations that prevent the girl from returning to her normal life.
- By means of biological standards, a girl begins to experience sexual urges, and unknowingly and without making a conscious decision, she joins the profession.
- They are not exposed to other ways of earning opportunities.
- They are unaware of normal relationships and have never experienced life outside of that lane.
- Other than their mothers, those who the children of sex workers consider being family generally oppose the decision and will go to whatever lengths to retrieve the child from the hostel of the education centre.
- Last but not least, given that they are accustomed to earning money fast, it is challenging to convince the girl children to study and do so in a respectable manner.
This Children’s Day, Project Udaan (under the aegis of VVMVP) has rolled out its #ShikshaSeUdaan campaign in association with The Art of Living Foundation. Children’s Day is celebrated across India to raise awareness about the rights, education, and welfare of children. The children of sex workers are no less than any other children; they are the leaders of tomorrow. However, due to their mother’s profession, these children are frequently ostracised and stigmatised in schools, parks, and wherever they go. Education is the only way these children can come to light and lead dignified lives. Through the campaign, the organization aims to raise awareness and leave a lasting impression on the importance of education for the children of sex workers.
Through the tutorials provided by the organisation, many girls are pursuing their education and toiling hard to improve their lifestyles. Jyoti, a girl in class X, is currently undergoing formal dance training and yoga alongside academic training. She also mentors other Udaan Dance Troupe kids under the supervision of other experts. She chose to leave Sonagachi to assist her family. Now, she hopes to teach and successfully lead the Udaan dance troupe so that they can perform and exhibit their talent on a national and international scale.
Commenting on the thoughtful initiative, Tnsuree Chakraborty, Actor and Philanthropist, said, “I am proud to be associated with such a cause. I felt a strong connection to the endeavour and would like to lend my support in any manner I can. By promoting the Shiksha Se Udaan campaign on all of my social media platforms, I will spread awareness of it. By doing so, we can persuade others to join the cause and help the little children who live in brothels improve their way of life.”
Speaking about the initiative, Suvina Shunglu, Principal of Sri Sri academy,stated, “Education is for all; it is the fundamental right of every human being. However, children who grow up in brothels struggle to be accepted by society; they experience stigmatisation throughout their lives, often for no fault of their own. In association with The Art of Living Foundation, Project Udaan aims to promote educational systems and eliminate discrimination in the classroom. The Shiksha Se Udaan initiative outlined an inclusive and holistic approach so that every child achieves their human right to access quality education.”
Commenting on the thoughtful initiative, Bharati Ganguly, Founder & President, Project Udaan, commented, “A child’s life in a brothel is miserable. They are often left alone at a young age. They have no idea what to do with their lives. It’s difficult for them to eat and survive, let alone go to school. They are frequently lonely and endure the wrath of society despite the fact that they have done nothing wrong. It’s time to unite and lead them in the right direction. With the Shiksha Se Udaan campaign, we wish to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to educate them and improve their living conditions.”
Commenting on the film and initiative, Joy B Ganguly, Director of Her Life short film, Project Udaan, commented, “The experience I had while filming ‘Her Life’ left a profound impression on me. I gained a better understanding of the difficulties these mothers confront, especially in light of the fact that their kids are completely unaware of what is happening. These young children should lead healthier and normal lives, free from prostitution and in a secure environment where they can play and learn and have appropriate childhood experiences. Being a part of this initiative makes me incredibly proud, and I’ll do what I can to improve the lives of these little ones.”
Upon being asked about his thoughts on the campaign, Atri Bhattacharya, Additional Chief. Secretary to the Government of West Bengal, stated, “Education is a fundamental right, as the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. I consider it an honour to be a part of this effort that aims to provide access to quality education for the children of sex workers. It is up to us to change the way we think about them if we want the world to progress.”
The little ones often are frequently subjected to discrimination in formal schools. The kids grow up and become a part of a group that already experiences physical, verbal, and mental abuse. Is this what they deserve? To contribute to a better art of living, donations in any form would help!
About Project Udaan:
Project Udaan is a conscious effort aimed at providing the children of sex workers with education and basic necessities to give them a brighter future. Blessed by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, it is an initiative of The Art of Living Foundation to create a safe haven for children of sex workers for their all-round development.
About The Art of Living Foundation:
Operating in 180 countries, The Art of Living Foundation is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organisation founded in 1981 by the world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual teacher – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. All our programs are guided by Gurudev’s philosophy: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.” The Art of Living Foundation community is diverse and attracts people from all walks of life.