"Umeed" is the Hindi word for "hope". The objective of Umeed is to help women in prostitution maintain their physical, mental, and economic wellbeing. Umeed is not a one-time rescue program; rather, we seek to empower women with long-term skills so they can exit prostitution permanently when they are ready.
Outreach. AAWC conducts daily home and street visits, organizes monthly area activities, and assists women who come to the AAWC centre with their needs. Women also attend monthly meetings to learn about important reports, workshops, and updates for the Umeed program.
Education. Umeed women can enroll in daily literacy classes for Hindi and/or English and register for distance learning courses.
Empowerment. AAWC helps Umeed women obtain the identity documents (voter cards, ration cards, PAN cards) that are necessary to access routine public services or gain employment in the formal sector. Women also attend monthly awareness workshops on legal issues (women’s rights, legislation on prostitution, child protection policy) and on government schemes for which they are eligible. They may also choose to enroll in vocational training programs to develop skills needed for alternate employment beyond the red light area such as the ongoing beautician training program. Previously tailoring, mehendi designing and jewelry-making classes were conducted for the women.
Finance. AAWC teaches financial literacy through awareness workshops to instill a culture of saving that is largely absent in the red light district. We assist Umeed members in opening and maintaining saving accounts at the Indian Post Office until they have saved enough money to open an account with the Bank of Maharashtra.
Health. Umeed women receive first aid, quarterly medical camps (general health, dental, vision, malaria, cancer detection), and regular health workshops (hygiene, nutrition, reproductive health, maternal/child health). A counselor helps them address personal and relationship issues like substance abuse, violence, sexual health, childcare, and alternative employment. Women living with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis receive daily nutritional supplements, those who need long-term treatment or hospital care are provided subsidized medication and/or hospital referrals.
Select partners: BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Nair Hospital, KBH Bachooali Hospital, R.S. Nimkar Hospital, Smiles32 Foundation.
Recreation. Umeed women enjoy therapeutic communal bonding through activities like religious festivals (Hindu, Muslim, and Christian), park visits, and secular celebrations (International Women’s Day).
Shelter. Umeed women who need special care are referred to hospital homes or shelter homes that specialize in treating chronic and/or terminal illnesses.