8 Mar 2013
At today’s dual celebration of Holi and International Women’s Day for Umeed members, Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) welcomed as chief guest Ketaki Thatte, a prominent Marathi actor in film, television, and theatre. Thatte shared stories about about her role portraying a woman in prostitution for a new Marathi play and encouraged the Umeed members to leave the brothel industry.
Umeed women also celebrated Holi with colored powder, tied friendship ribbons to one another’s wrists, and shared stories about the positive developments in their lives. Some women spoke of their achievements in Sareelution, AAWC’s vocational program, while others recounted the successes of their children in the Udaan and Umang programs for girls and toddlers, respectively. One mother of an Udaan member said, "I am very happy that my daughters are studying at AAWC. Their level of confidence has been boosted, and they are doing excellently both academically and personally."
At the end of the festivities, the women were gifted hand towels as a token of appreciation and respect, and an Umeed member presented Thatte with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of AAWC.
International Women’s Day (IWD) was first observed on 8 March in 1911 and was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1975. The 2013 IWD theme is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, a fitting theme for AAWC and the members of Umeed.
About Apne Aap Women’s Collective
Founded in 1998, Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) serves the women, girls, and toddlers of the Greater Kamathipura Area, one of the largest and oldest red light areas in Asia. By providing its members with the tools and resources to create a better life, AAWC seeks to empower women who have been trafficked into brothel-based prostitution and to prevent intergenerational trafficking of girls and young children who grow up in the brothels. Since its inception, AAWC has served more than 1,500 women, 650 girls and 400 toddlers. Learn more at www.aawc.in.