Ahmednagar: Girish Kulkarni has changed the face of the brothels of Ahmednagar. Through his tireless efforts he has ensured that no minors girls are bought and sold in Ahmednagar. He has also set up schools for the children of sex workers.
Richa's eyes don't betray the life she led earlier that was a life confined to a brothel. She had been sold to a brothel as a child.
"I'm the only person in my family who got education and a career," she said.
She owes her second shot at life to Girish Kulkarni and his Ahmednagar based NGO 'Snehalaya'. A professor in a local college, Girish had grown up seeing the mushrooming brothel business in Ahmednagar. It wasn't until he saw a little girl being abused by a madam that he decided to take action.
"Even the sex workers have children. So I thought I should work with them," Girish said.
Girish set up Snehalaya 30 years ago. He started visiting the brothels and counselling sex workers, spreading awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and also trying to build confidence in the women that they could lead a new life in the mainstream.
Over the years Snehalaya has rescued many minors from flesh trade with help from the police and youngsters in the locality. Today the red light areas in Ahmednagar have no minors.
Girish started teaching the children of sex workers and getting them out of the brothel environment. He set up a hostel and vocational training schools for them. Girish has also started a hospital exclusively for HIV patients.
"An HIV positive sex worker is ill treated by everyone. Even she deserves a dignified death," Girish said.
With one step at a time, Girish Kulkarni is working for a red light free Ahmednagar.