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Insightful experiences

Interaction with the guests and interviews of veterans from the society are not new to Snehalaya. Our Alliance Hall has experienced many memorable moments, however, in a recent exciting event it was members of our own Snehalaya family that mesmorised the audience. Here one of our recently appointed trustees shares the impact of hearing from Jaya Jogdand, our newly appointed President, and Santosh Dharmadhikari, who grew up at Snehalayaand now works at our Snehankur adoption centre.

"Yashwant Kurapati, Project Coordinator of our Snehjyot TI2 project in Shevgaon, interviewed Jayaji. Together they unfolded Jaya’s journey from being caught in the vicious cycle of the flesh trade to her development with Snehalaya which has seen her rise to our most senior position. My goodness, what a strong woman was the overwhelming feeling that I got while listening to her repsond to Yashwant's meaningful questions and prompts.

"She spoke about her life in the brothels and the prevailing condition of sex workers and their children. It was a world beyond the imagination of us white-collar people who lead such a secure and safe life with our close ones. Whatever she spoke brought goosebumps. Her gratitude towards Snehalaya was simply overwhelming. We often delight in the personality of a strong, mature woman but rarely estimate the struggle she has gone through to achieve that persona. Jaya is one such woman.

We all need to listen to her to understand the struggles and challenges she faced while working with Snehalaya to spread awareness about HIV and other health issues among sex workers. Her perseverance to make the women understand the importance of using condoms with their customers is really appreciated. She has also helped so many women in the flesh trade to obtain the necessary legal documents to gain access to government schemes and support.

"Jaya never forgot to mention that without Snehalaya’s support, it was almost impossible to take a firm stand against the brothel owners and sometimes even the local police. Her bitter experiences emphasised the challenges Snehalaya overcame in this journey. She was in tears when she recalled the contribution of Snehalaya's volunteers and the mentored by them. Listening to her was an ineffable experience.

"Similarly, Santosh, who was interviewed by Dr Prajakta Kulkarni, unveiled his dark past and his troublesome childhood memories. After the sad demise of both his parents, it was our founder, Girish who helped him overcome every hurdle of his life as an orphan. He underlined the importance of how one's company, habits and perception play an important role in adolescence. It was an eye-opening lesson for all the children sitting in the hall.

"Both interviews were truly inspiring for everyone present, especially when both humbly stated that their attitude, fighting instinct perseverance and sensitive minds are the outcome of their association with Snehalaya."

Mrs Mugdha Shukre

Trustee, Snehalaya

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