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International Women's Day: Transgender activist takes crowdfunding route to build 'grandma's home' for children of sex workers

There is a cause that is consuming 37-year-old Gauri, a transgender activist. To build a home for children of sex workers at Kamare village in Maharashtra's Palghar district on outskirts of Mumbai. The goal has become the only focus of Gauri in her waking hours, for which she has appealed through all popular programs on television channels or function she has attended. Gauri has also pledged Rs 17 lakh that she has received through the TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati for her initiative.

Gauri has approached Milaap, a crowdfunding initiative, to raise funds for her cause. The target is to collect Rs 62 lakh towards the project. The target amount is decided by campaign organisers based on the specific need which is to build a shelter home in the case of Gauri.

Milaap has raised nearly Rs 35 lakh so far with nearly 600 people having supported the fundraiser by making a contribution. The fundraiser page has also been shared about 3,000 times on social media. Gauri has come out with a video on the project, said a Milaap spokesperson, which has received nearly 100,000 views on Facebook.

Gauri Sawant, transgender activist.

Gauri Sawant, transgender activist.

Any amount can be pledged from as little as a rupee with Paytm, the spokesperson said. "We feel privileged to play a role in taking her story to a larger audience, after all, such stories deserve to be told," the spokesperson said.

Gauri’s transformation from Ganesh Suresh Sawant from Pune has been well-chronicled in the media. Her dream is to build a home in the light of a very disturbing incident that she witnessed.

"In Kamathipura, I came across a little child playing with her mother's dupatta inside one of the shacks. I stepped closer to adore the little one and was shocked to see a man zipping up his pants right there. I realised that the mother was actually working with the little one in the room since there was no other place where she could leave her baby. It really disturbed me to think that children are having to grow up watching all this, and decided to do something to change the lives of these kids," she said.

This incident spurred Gauri to think of creating a ‘safe home’ for girl children. She rued that girls were unsafe in their homes where their mothers were sex workers. Girls of sex workers are ‘more vulnerable’, said Gauri, adding that, “I want to create a safe home for these daughters, where basic education and health will be provided besides care, love and safety that every child deserves."

To be built on a plot of land measuring around 2,500 sq feet which Gauri received as a gift, the home has been aptly named Naani ka Ghar or Aaji cha Ghar (Grandma's home), the home will be built at the at the outskirts of Mumbai in Kamare village in Palghar district. The plan is to provide accommodation for about 60 to 70 children. So far Gauri has five children that she is taking care of in a daycare facility. The children will be given basic education in the home itself so as to avoid them being viewed as sex workers children while being enrolled in a school.

Updated Date: Mar 08, 2018 16:48 PM

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