Prerana has been providing long term residential care to some of Mumbai’s most vulnerable girls at its Naunihal Centre since 2001. This institution provides 24-hour care to these girls, who are from highly deprived backgrounds, and face particularly high exposure to risks of exploitation.
There are currently 26 girls living in the centre, which caters their protection and development well-being- nutrition, education, life skills and recreation. A large part of Prerana’s approach, both within Naunihal and across its other centres and projects, is the focus on education and career development. This ensures children at risk of exploitation remain fixed on other future paths than that of their past.
One 17 year old girl, currently living at Naunihal (who cannot be named due to child protection issues), has been in the shelter since 2006. In recent years, she has undergone a number of different training courses, including a course on social work, and also a food and beverages training with the famous Taj Hotel.
She will turn 18 later this year, but will stay in the centre until she is independent enough to leave. She will continue with her vocational training in order to achieve this, and is keen to pursue further her skills in social work, as she is interested in working for an NGO. She is also passionate and talented in painting and sketching, so also dreams of becoming an artist one day.
Another girl, now 20 years old, was rescued from a brother at a very young age. She was orphaned, but very attached to the brothel keepers, as they were the closest thing she had to family. Because of this attachment, she was very resistant at first, but became slowly more motivated as the years went on.
However, she remained uninterested in education, so Prerana organised for her to go on a beautician course. She is now taking advanced classes, and already earns Rs 13,000 per month, given the regular client base she has build up. She is very happy and independent, and remains in touch with Prerana staff, both through formal assessment visits, but also on a personal level.
Prerana staff believe that key to the girls’ long term development is to provide them with lots of varied training opportunities, to ensure that they are exposed to, and have skills in, lots of different trades, as well as education opportunities. This instils a sense of empowerment in the girls, and encourages them to think about their future livelihoods, ensuring they do not risk being trafficked in to the same work as their mothers.
To celebrate the various success stories that can be seen among its past beneficiaries, who are now independent young adults, Prerana holds an Annual Cultural Event, the costs of which were covered by a small part of the Impact Award funding, which Prerana received in 2009 for the Protection category. The high point of the event each year- the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ – recognises the remarkable success of one particular past beneficiary, who is identified as a role models to the current beneficiaries. Many of these beneficiaries are now working in the NGO and corporate sectors, or continuing their studies through to graduate levels.