Prerana ATC | Fight Trafficking

SDG Goal 3: Understanding Prerana's interventions towards ensuring health and well-being of its beneficiaries

Shatakshi Saxena

Project Coordinator (Documentation and Communications)

As we move towards the end of the Sustainable Development Campaign, we share the experiences of team members across all our programs. We aim to understand how their programs contribute to Goal 3, and Prerana’s interventions in the field of health, hygiene and reproductive and sexual wellness.

POST RESCUE OPERATIONS:

The Post Rescue Operations project works on rehabilitation and reintegration of child victims of sexual violence, specifically with victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Most of the children who enter in the system experience trauma due to the incident of sexual violence(s), social disconnectedness, lack of resources or support from family/society and poor childcare ecosystem. Sexual violence affects victim’s wellbeing to a great extent and the program focuses on providing holistic support so as to ensure that the victim recovers from the physical as well as mental distress. 

“In cases where the victim is affected by HIV AIDS or HIV AIDS along with Tuberculosis, we work on ensuring that regular medical check ups are done, along with facilitating processes to increase access to medicines and nutritional support. Engaging in regular discussions with the child to increase awareness about the illness are an integral part of the intervention. Stigma, labelling and discrimination attached to such illness often plays a role in curbing progress in their well-being, often leading to the victim questioning their own identity. Therefore, providing regular psycho social counselling services aids them in creating a reliable support system. We also come across cases of sexual violence related pregnancy. The intervention in such cases ranges from linking the victim with health counsellor and doctor who could inform the victim on various options available, to providing medicines and nutritional support during, post the delivery/medical termination of pregnancy, to conducting regular needs and safety assessment of the victim through follow-up visits etc. 

We also closely work with the children and stakeholders of Child Care Institutions to ensure that health related concerns are addressed through collective effort. Health camps to address issues related to victim’s concerns on sexual and reproductive health, communicable skin diseases, general health checkups are also organized. Additionally, we advocate for victim’s access to sustainable, victim friendly, empathetic and effective health care systems on various platforms such as multi-stakeholder convergence meetings. This helps in reaching out to the duty bearer of the state to take steps towards enhancing health care services for the victims. The team overall works in providing direct assistance to the victims by strengthening the support system around them that could potentially help in generating an ecosystem which could contribute to their emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing.”- Ms. Aaheli Gupta (Casework Manager), Mr. Uruj (MERL Coordinator), Ms. Geetarani Lourembam (Senior Project Coordinator)

SANMAAN:

The Sanmaan Project works with children rescued from begging and their families in three communities namely Jay Ambey Nagar, Chembur, Ekveera Transport, Ghansoli and Karbala Chawl, Sathenagar to end the cycle of intergenerational beggary. 

“During outreach visits in the community, our team interacts with  adolescent girls and women regarding menstrual hygiene and the access to sanitary services. We observed that adolescent girls and women lack access to menstrual health products and receive little or no education about menstruation before reaching puberty. Cultural taboos and religious barriers also affect their activities during menstruation. In 2021, we collaborated with Goonj who conducted multiple sessions on menstrual hygiene with the women, helped them understand the way to use and dispose sanitary napkins, nutritional intake required for the body, hygiene standards that should be maintained and the possible health hazards that could be caused by not using appropriate sanitary services. Over time, we have observed many women using sanitary napkins during their menstrual cycle and passing on the same information to their children. These sessions also helped reduce the taboo attached to menstrual hygiene, protected dignity and built confidence. We hope these sessions will eventually strengthen sexual and reproductive health, particularly among adolescents. We also conduct various awareness sessions in the community regarding diseases such as chickenpox, healthy eating habits, and hygiene practices. Our interventions are focused on ensuring members of the community have access to adequate health services and medical aid. During COVID-19, we worked with the members of the community to bust the myths around vaccination and encourage them to get vaccinated. Through our interventions, we try to ensure that existing stereotypes are broken and members of the community are able to access services valuable for their well-being.”- Ms. Haseena Shaikh (Project Coordinator)

NAUNIHAL:

“Naunihal is a Girls Children’s Home and we pay focused attention towards providing them access to relevant information about reproductive and sexual wellness and sanitary products. For improved menstrual health and hygiene, we have a four pronged approach- social support, knowledge and skills, facilities and services and access to absorbent materials and supportive supplies.  Partner organizations such as Art of Living and Global Shapers have conducted various sessions and facilitated discussions on the importance of menstrual hygiene with the girls and covered topics such as busting myths on menstrual cycle, understanding cultural beliefs and the restrictions imposed during menstruation, misconceptions and attitude towards menstruation, irregular cycles ( how it could be due to underlying health concerns, hormonal changes) , disposal of sanitary napkins and the importance of maintaining hygiene during their cycle. We also have a Visiting Medical Officer who conducts health checkup and  addresses any concerns the girls might have regarding reproductive , sexual health and any other health concerns. We work to provide the girls a comfortable, open space wherein they are able to have open discussions about the menstrual cycle, sexual and reproductive health without feeling judged. Initially, the girls feel shy talking about it but eventually they understand how important these conversations are. Shrinkhala (an organization) conducted a session on eco-friendly lifestyle and covered the concept and usage of menstrual cups, an eco-friendly sanitary product. Every child admitted to Naunihal undergoes deworming and it is a continuous process. We have observed that deworming improves the child’s immunity, and controls infections such as anemia, loose bowels, etc. Hair lice is very common among all the children, they easily spread from child to child and are  taught to take care of the same and also the importance of hair hygiene. We have a very systematic anti hair lice treatment by providing medicated shampoo and lotion to the girls. Additionally, we also conduct tests to detect iron, calcium and haemoglobin levels once in a year and plan the children’s diet according to the results.”-  Ms. Madhuri Shinde (Superintendent)

NIGHT CARE CENTER:

The Night Care Center (NCC) program works in the red-light areas of Mumbai with women and their children with the aim to end intergenerational trafficking and ensure that they’re able to access their rights. Women in the sex trade live under extremely exploitative conditions and face violence at the hands of their customers or brothel keepers. Over the years, many women have passed away due to HIV related co-infections and many are living with it. 

“We have focused interventions towards spreading awareness about HIV, linking women to organizations who can assist and follow-up for their medication and nutrition. At both Kamathipura and Falkland Road centers, we have  support groups of women living with HIV as members. We conduct health related sessions with a health counselor for the women to help them understand the importance of a balanced, planned nutritious diet and self-care. We also ensured to distribute ration kits to them and thoroughly followed up on the same during the lockdown and followed-up with them regarding their medication as the pandemic had created trouble accessing it. Our peer group of adolescents and youth also conduct awareness programs about HIV with focus on addressing stigma and discrimination, and hold a yearly memorial in the red-light areas for women who lost their lives to HIV. We conduct awareness and informative sessions for both mothers and their children on topics such as reproductive and sexual wellness, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, menstrual cycle and hygiene practices, sanitary services and nutrition. This helps spread awareness amongst the children and women and ensures that myths around socially tabooed topics related to health are busted.”- Ms. Mugdha Dandekar (Program Head)

AARAMBH:

The Aarambh project works to strengthen the child protection systems by providing psychological services to child victims of sexual assault and their families, demonstrating the role of a support person in cases of Child Sexual Assault, extending support to the Child Welfare Committees, liaisoning with the various child protection functionaries

“We were assigned a case in 2016 where the beneficiary had been suffering from tuberculosis since prior to the team’s intervention. In 2018, the beneficiary went into recurrence of tuberculosis. The team provided the beneficiary and her family with assistance to access health services to detect the severity of the illness. Once the diagnosis was completed, the beneficiary was informed that she would have to visit the local DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy Center) to receive her medicines. It came to the notice of the team that the beneficiary was to receive Rs. 500 monthly for purchasing necessary nutritious food that would aid in the beneficiaries recovery. The team provided the beneficiary with assistance to apply for a debit card so that the amount may be easily accessible to her. Further the team is also assisting the beneficiary to purchase food items such as dates and other protein rich food which would accelerate the  recovery of the beneficiary.

Since we work on cases of Child Sexual Assault, a major part of the intervention in cases of consensual sexual relationships is speaking to the girl victim about the need for a medical examination. The team explains to the victims how the medical examination is helpful to detect any illness  that the victim may have contracted due to the sexual relationship and to also be able to detect pregnancy in time so the intervention of her choice may be started. The teams during follow up visits make it a point to speak with girl victims who have got their first period about the need to visit a doctor if their menstrual cycles are irregular so that any illnesses may be detected and the girls are also aware of health concerns that stem from irregular menstrual cycles. The teams in cases where a need is identified conduct safety sessions with beneficiaries which covers topics of healthy, unhealthy relationships, safe sex, resources and services that could be accessed if there are any reproductive or sexual ailments that the beneficiary may suffer from.”- Ms. Mallika Mannadiar (Project Manager)

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