For a group of Mumbai-based Essarites, a recent volunteering activity organized by the Essar Foundation, with Mumbai-based NGO, Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC), turned out to be a learning experience like none other. On June 11, 2012, eleven Essarites spent the day with the children of sex workers at the AAWC center at Grant Road, Mumbai.
AAWC was started about 12 years ago in Kamathipura, Mumbai, by a group of people who wanted to make a difference in the lives of marginalized women and children in the largest red light district in the city. Through their programs, the center provides financial assistance, health care and empowerment to these individuals.
A special felicitation program was organized to laud the efforts of the girls in various areas, such as academics, health and confidence-building. The program took off with a group dance performance by the students of the center. Next came the sharing session, wherein some of the girls stood up to talk about their interests, aims and ambitions in life. This session was aimed at encouraging the girls to speak confidently in public. Listening to their stories was an overwhelming experience for all those present.
Later, Essar volunteers gave away prizes to students who had made significant progress over the last one year. They also got the opportunity to interact with
the children and learn more about their hobbies and goals in life. A singing
session by an Essarite created a warm and mellow atmosphere. This was followed
by a series of fun games and finally, a dance session with the children,
that brought the evening to a close.