Initiative to assist transgenders, widows, others
New Delhi: Identity proof, a ration card, birth certificate or even a bank account – acquiring these and more for sex workers, widows, single mothers, the elderly and other subaltern sections of the society can pose quite a challenge.
A bunch of spirited community workers have come together through a civil society initiative to helping the deprived sections of society negotiate with power centres and get their basic documents of survival.
“It is very cumbersome to get hold of the basic documents, even for a person from the mainstream society. The hassle doubles if you are from a deprived section. We help the sex workers community to attain these documents, not just for their own betterment but for a better future for their children as well,” says Satyanathan, project coordinator of ‘Single Windows’.
The ‘Single Windows’ project begun by Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) aims at streamlining the sex workers community to find their standing in the society.
Numerous ‘gender resource centres’ set under the project in Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are being run-in-partnership with the Programme on women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR) and the National Forum for Action and Convergence (NFAC).
“This project aims at a convergent delivery of government schemes and programmes to the stakeholders, especially those who are in no means to avail them on their own. Our volunteers work from the vulnerable habitats and ensure that the deprived settlements have day-to-day connect with the government,” says Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director, CFAR.
For 28-year-old Mahalakshmi, a sex worker the project has helped her attain an aadhaar card, identity proof and has got her children admitted into a school in Salem, Tamil Nadu with all the documents intact.
“It is difficult for people like us to get these basic documents and lead a normal life. We are always looked at with suspicion and distrust. It becomes a bigger agony when schools refuse to admit our children for lack of documents. Like any parent, we want a better future for our children,” says Mahalakshmi, who harbors the dream of leaving her profession once she is financially sound.