Snehalaya was started, by a zealous band of youth volunteers in 1989.
Today, over 30 full time workers, hundreds of volunteers, thousands of well wishers form the Snehalaya family. The NGO was formally registered in 1992 at Ahmednagar (Maharashtra) and is currently working in all the 14 Tehsils of Ahmednagar District as well as the neighboring district like Solapur, Nashik etc.
It all started when a little girl aged just four years was found bitterly tortured by a brothel-keeper who was stuffing chilly powder in her genitals. The scene was not just inhuman but also horrifying. Dr. Girish Kulkarni and his friends decided to rescue the child from this inhuman atrocity & abuse.
There was no help from the police or the state. They brought the child to their own home. This incident led to the formation of ‘Snehalaya’.
This institution is a result of constructive work of the youth who have become restless over social evils. Rather than engage in futile discussions and debates, they decided to act to change the social conditions for the better. College students, led by Dr. Girish Kulkarni, inspired by Swami Vivekananda, established the organization in 1989, with the belief - “They alone live, who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive!”
For the last 12 years, Snehalaya is working to improve the lives of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation & trafficking. Snehalaya decided that the focus of their work would be women and children as they are helpless, unable to protect themselves and solve their problems. Snehalaya also understood the problems of the children of these women. Male children are mostly forced into criminal activities and female children in prostitution. Most of the sex workers, wish to prevent their daughters from getting into prostitution. For these children, Snehalaya built a shelter home with the facilities of accommodation, food, clothing, education & medicine.
Snehalaya recognizes that each child needs a good start in life, education and an opportunity to develop his/her individual capabilities.
The vision of Snehalaya is to develop awareness and capability in those members of the society who have been deprived of their rights due to inequality and exploitation.
Since the foundation, Snehalaya has involved volunteers from various walks of life, from all castes and religion. It has inspired humanitarian work and has kept itself away from any politics, religious or ideological fundamentalism. Snehalaya believes that the real spirit of organization lives in volunteers rather than in projects that end up in bureaucracy.
Even today, the committed team of volunteers are the backbone of the mission of Snehalaya.
- Snehalaya was instrumental in putting an end to atrocities by brothel keepers, police, money lenders, goons in all the red light areas of Ahmednagar district.
- Snehalaya’s continuous awareness program, legal battles, have ended the use of minors in the flesh trade.
- Snehalaya’s Rehabilation center today provides shelter, home, quality education, and medical care to more than 400 children in a residential project.
- Snehalaya has successfully placed more than a hundred children into good families, through legal adoption .
- Snehalaya's work has reduced the STI infection from over 60 % to less than 2 % among thousands of commercial sex workers in the district of Ahmednagar
- Snehalaya is educating more than a 900 children in slum based Bal Bhavans
- Snehalaya's community care center has provided medical treatment and care from more than six thousand HIV +ve patients
- Snehalaya has successfully rescued and rehabilitated more than 80 victims from the flesh trade, providing them with vocational training
- Snehalaya's child line center attends to more than 250 calls each day, working 24 hours. More than 400 children in distress have been rescued by the the child line team of Snehalaya
- Snehalaya has inspired other civil society members and institutions in Solapur, Latur, Akola and Pune districts to start similar type of work
- Snehalaya has created a ray of hope in major urban slums on issues like child labor, malnutrition, child marriages, addiction, HIV-AIDS, the immoral trafficking fof the flesh trade.