Women and girls from poor and marginalised communities in rural India are most at risk of being exploited and abused through human trafficking, child marriage, bonded labour, gender violence and child labour.
Among those most at risk of exploitation and abuse are Dalit women and girls in the southern Indian state of Telangana who have been illegally dedicated as Joginis.
As a Jogini, they serve in the village temple, but most were unaware that as soon as they reached puberty they would be expected to give sexual favours to the men of the village.
Most are illiterate, uneducated and living in extreme poverty. Many develop addictions to help them cope, and are at risk of ill health and disease. They often feel that have lost any dignity that they may have had.
More about Joginis
Our Indian partners were challenged by leaders from among these exploited communities to get involved with their struggle by helping them in their quest for dignity, hope and justice.
“All we are asking is to be treated with respect; no one ever treats us with respect.”
We work with Pratigya India – our Indian partners - to empower women and girls in 200 villages through an holistic rural development programme in order to prevent exploitation and abuse.
As well as helping these women to access justice and government schemes, we also help them to set up microbusinesses and learn skills so they can earn a livelihood and live with dignity. In addition, we provide primary healthcare in the community.
More about our programmes