From a brothel to the world
Shweta was born in Kamathipura, a red-light area of Mumbai. Yet she has not only stepped out of her narrow walls, but has even gone ahead of the ordinary to get a US scholarship, and win the 2014 UN Youth Courage Award. She was also featured in Newsweek’s list of “25 under-25 Young Women to watch,” along with Malala.
Initially, for 17 years, Shweta lived above a brothel, victim of an alcoholic and abusive stepfather. He taunted her for her colour, calling her heart as “dark as her skin.” She was also called “cowdung” in school.
Her mother filled her with courage and hope until Kranti, an NGO working with children in red-light areas, came into her life. After receiving some counselling and advice, she began to study.
School was followed by visits to Nepal and tribal Jharkhand for a year, in order to give motivational talks to sex workers and their children and also address eight women’s conferences. With a degree, she wants to open a free therapy center in a red-light area.
Even though she has undergone horrifying experiences in brothels, she is still convinced that she wants to stay there and help other children benefit from a free therapy center as well as a mental health care service. No one cares about anyone there, although they need help the most, she says.
Shweta, and her friend Kavita from her area can now pursue a semester at ‘Sea’, a university in a ship travelling through 12 countries in five months. She has realised her dreams of studying and getting out of her narrow world, but now needs some financial help to reach her goals of travelling the world. Can you help, she asks. Click here to see how you can.
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