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PeaceWalk Campaign in Delhi, 5th of July 2016

Apne Aap in collaboration with International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) launched a PeaceWalk campaign to end sexual violence against women by spreading awareness among the masses. Women and children led the PeaceWalk, followed by Ruchira Gupta and Apne Aap activists. The Walk started from
Sapera Basti to MCD Primary School in Dharampura (Najafgarh). Thereafter, an Open Mike Session was held at the School on the theme of child marriage.

Read more about the PeackWalk in these article in the New Delhi Times and This Day

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How our school in Bihar saves girls from Prostitution featured in Los Angeles Times

Check out Barbara Davidson’s visit to Apne Aap in this article in LA Times:

This school in India saves girls as young as 12 from the family business: prostitution

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Bihar Leads The Way
 
You can help:
1. Donate here to support girls to learn, play, and stay safe…
2. Tweet the following messages:
@ApneAap #Bihar #school saves #girls from #Prostitution by @photospice @ruchiragupta #ApneAap http://fw.to/KfJCJ0 donate www.apneaap.org
or
@ApneAap #Bihar #India #school saves #girls from #Prostitution by @photospice @LATimes @ruchiragupta http://fw.to/KfJCJ0
3. Facebook and email the link to your friends and family:
Do take a moment to see the compelling photos and captions by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Barbara Davidson in Los Angeles Times on how
This School in India Saves Girls from Prostitution. The girls are not passively waiting for their future- they are playing, laughing, studying, happy…facing the menace of the world outside with joy and spirit.
4. If possible go to the comments section below the photo-essay
5. Instagram any of the photos crediting Barbara Davidson, LA Times.

Caption: LA Times Article on Apne Aap’s school in India saving girls from prostitution: http://fw.to/KfJCJ0 Support Apne Aap by visitingwww.ApneAap.org/Donate and share the photo with #ApneAap

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OPEN MIKE SESSIONS, sponsored by the Canadian High Commission

Open mike sessions were conducted with the girls on various topics at the Primary School in Najafgarh. A big session was held on the theme ‘Child Marriage’ commemorating International Women’s Day on 8th March 2016. Open Mike Session is an Apne Aap empowerment tool to encourage girls to voice out their opinions, their experiences on certain social issues.
The session was conducted by Juanita, who started it with a background of why we celebrate Women’s day.  After the introduction she talked about child marriage – the legal age, its implications etc and asked the girls to share their views on child marriage. The girls also shared personal stories of their sisters, neighbors etc who had gotten married at a young age. Story books were distributed among the girls who spoke out.
The session ended with a song on women’s freedom.
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These activities are being conducted in the primary school in Najafgarh, Delhi under the school adoption program sponsored by the Canadian High Commission

 

ART RESILIENCE WORKSHOPS: Various art resilience workshops conducted with young girls

From Old to New: Girls were taught to use waste discarded products like egg trays, old cloth, buttons, ice cream sticks etc to make figures, birds etc

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Who Am I?:  An art workshop where girls and boys were asked to draw their own faces by looking into a mirror, and asked to describe how they feelabout their own identity. Children used words like “Happy”, “Pretty”, “Naughty” etc.)

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These activities are being conducted in the primary school in Najafgarh, Delhi under the school adoption program sponsored by the Canadian High Commission

 

Sensitization Meeting With the Teachers, sponsored by the Canadian High Commission

Apne Aap adopted the Primary school in Najafgarh as a part of a project supported by the Canadian High Commission. After years of negotiation with the school authorities for the enrollment and retention of children, especially girls from Perna and Sapera communities, Apne Aap decided to equip the school with better infrastructure like a computer lab, library etc, and conduct various activities like art workshops, open mike sessions to ensure minimum dropouts.
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As a first step, a sensitization meeting was held with the teachers of the school explaining them our objective of working with the school. It was essential to sensitize the teachers regarding the plight of the communities, and to break the stereotypes related to the Perna community. The meeting started with showing a short movie about the issue of inter-generational prostitution, made from the eyes of a young girl. The meeting was attended by the Principal and all the teachers of the school. They ensured all cooperation to Apne Aap.
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Week-long Theatre workshop held in Apne Aap’s Delhi Office!

Kriti Sharma, the Creative Director of The Theatre Collective, ran a theatre workshop from the 29th of June to the 3rd of July with a group of approximately 15 girls from Najafgarh in the Apne Aap office in Delhi. The workshop ran Monday through Friday every day from about 3 pm to 5 pm.

The first day Kritheatre workshop 4ti aimed at establishing a sense of trust and security with the girls and started the workshop off with crazy dancing, encouraging the girls to move freely and let go of any tension. Afterwards, she made everyone sit in a big circle for the next series of activities: she would ask a question and then throw a ball to one of the girls, and after answering the question, she would pass it on to someone else. This way everyone got actively engaged in the activity and slowly started to open up as the comfort zone was being established. The first question was “what do you love most in this world” and many answered “parents”, “siblings”, “cousins” whilst others were more philosophical, saying things like “honesty”, “friendship” and “studying”. The next step involved telling the person to your right what you like most about them, thereby creating a wonderful environment of appreciation and affection.

Kriti htheatre workshop 3ad by now laid the first stepping stone and was ready the next day to start with the theatrical aspect of the workshop. She divided the girls into two groups and instructed them to enact a scene of “kids having fun at school.” Both performances cleverly started with the school bell ringing and with the girls running into the playground with big smiles on their faces and using their scarves as jump-ropes or balls. The next scene now had to involve a “problem” of any kind; the first group came up with a teacher beating his students for not completing their homework and the second group showed one of the girls getting injured on her way home.

Time ran out so the third day the workshop started with the two groups re-enacting the two scenes, though this time Kriti asked the girls to think of an even “greater problem”, one that is deep rooted and not only causes physical pain, but also psychological discomfort. The theatre theatre workshop 2workshop was aimed at dealing with child sexual abuse but Kriti had never mentioned it… all on their own, the girls chose “greater problems” that addressed the issue of child abuse. One group depicted a scene with a male teacher holding one of the schoolgirls back and then trying to inappropriately touch her. The other group instead showed a girl coming home from college and being eve-teased by guys on the street, which lead the mother to forbidding her daughter from going to study. The final scene had to portray a solution to the problem or a way of coping with the issue at hand, so the first group decided to close their performance with the schoolgirls standing behind the victim as they decide to go to the principal and then addressing the audience with a powerful question: “are you also supporting me?” The solution in the second group was a representative from Apne Aap coming to the home of the victim and persuading the mother to let her daughter go to college since education is a fundamental tool in the path of self-empowerment.

The girls continued rehearsing their scenes all of Thursday and were ready by Friday for the big performance. With a wonderful audience of about 15 people from Apne Aap and the neighbouring office, the girls totally rocked their performance! The girls professionally acted out their roles and proudly received “Certificates of Participation” and a small children’s book at the end of the performance, whilst the entire audience was enthusiastically clapping along. And to top it all off, there were samosas as a treat for our young actors and the wonderfully supportive audience!

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Comic book workshop held in Apne Aap’s Delhi office!

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On July 2nd 2015, 15 girls participated in a comic book workshop in Apne Aap’s head office, conducted by Ram Devineni, Producer, Director and Co-writer of the Priya’s Shakti comic book.

The girls were taught basics of drawing a body and a face and how to use speech and thought bubbles. They were also taught how to draw a comic book poster. The girls drew their schools, their family etc. They were enthusiastic and did a great job!

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Urgent Help Needed for Girls and Women in Nepal

Urgent help needed in Nepal after devastating earthquake

Apne Aap’s main center in Forbesganj is only 14km away from Biratnagar in Nepal. A devastating earthquake has hit Nepal and Apne Aap needs to start a soup kitchen and get clothes and water there. Women and girls are sitting in the open with their families and they urgently need our help.

Earthquake hits Nepal - 25 Apr 2015

Photograph: News Agency/REX Shutterstock via The Guardian

Dear Friend,

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has hit Nepal, killing over a thousand people. According to the United Nations over a million people may end up without shelter. Aftershocks are still occurring. During disasters women and girls are disproportionately affected. We work 14 km away from Nepal in Forbesganj, Bihar and have partners rooted in communities in Bihar and Nepal. We need money for food, soup kitchens, medical supplies, clothes and to run safe spaces for women and girls.

Please make a gift. Your support is urgently needed so that Apne Aap and its friends and partners can support women and girls in Nepal during this devastating crisis.

Thank you,

Ruchira Gupta

Founder, Apne Aap Women Worldwide

To read the article in The Guardian: Click Here

To read the article in The New York Times: Click Here

 

You can donate online by clicking here

Checks can me mailed to:

Apne Aap International

Peck Slip Station

PO Box 916 New York, NY 10272

Apne Aap Women Worldwide held the first candle light march in the Sonagachi red light area

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Prostituted Girls, Women and activists marched in the Sonagachchi red-light area to demand police investigate the murder of 20 year old Saathi Das, who was trafficked there 9 months ago. Prostituted girls and women from Kolkata’s red light areas and activists under the banner of Apne Aap Women Worldwide took on a, first of its kind, candle light march in the Sonagachi red light area, to demand police take action against the murderer of Sathi Das. 

Sathi was a member of the Apne Aap network. She had started attending Apne Aap’s adult literacy classes and had auditioned for a part in a TV serial and was trying to get out of prostitution. She had planned to start conference bag making classes with Apne Aap just two days before she was strangled. Shockingly, she was found dead in the morning and somebody had run away with her two children. Her cell phone is also missing. The brothel owner and one of her regular clients are also missing. The police have failed to investigate the case. The march was followed by a meeting of survivors, activists and Apne Aap team members to plan followup actions against the growing violence against prostituted girls and women in the Sonagachchi red light area.

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PBS NewsHour airs a two-part special on Apne Aap conducting a rescue

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“RUCHIRA GUPTA: I am once again reminded why slavery still exists, because the laws are on paper and they are never implemented. And this is like – is back to ground zero, where I realize that the police, come what may, do not want to implement the laws on behalf of women and girls.”

Above Ruchira Gupta speaks on the troubles involved with fighting sex trafficking in the PBS NewsHour special which aired this week. Special PBS correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro traveled to India to take a closer look at the issue.

Please take a look at Apne Aap working in the field to put an end to sex trafficking as they conduct a rescue in India in a two-part special. Links provided below:

To watch Part one: click here

To watch Part two: click here

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