One more step in the lives of Smita and Vinita, an university

 In Educación, Education, Mujer, Women
Smita, de Sonrisas de Bombay, va a ir a la universidad

Photo by Nacho Hermoso

Smita and Vinita are the two youngest girls who live in the Udaan shelter home, in Mumbai and thanks to their perseverance and strength because of which they have taken a very important step in their lives: they have passed 12th grade (equivalent to 2nd year of Bachillerato in Spain) and they are going to go to university.

From Kamathipura to the university

Smita has been linked to Mumbai Smiles for many years. From a very young age she attended the Life Skills Empowerment classes that we teach on the Smiling Bus and she is a beneficiary of the “Access to School” project. She lived with her mother, her stepfather and her brothers in the Kamathipura neighborhood, the largest red light area in all of Asia. Her mother was a victim of sexual exploitation and her stepfather mistreated her and her children. Furthermore, he insisted on marrying her even though he was a minor, because he believed that women should not study.

Given this situation, we at Mumbai Smiles offered her the opportunity to settle in the Udaan house. Although she was not directly a victim of human trafficking, her mother was and the environment in which she lived made her a possible victim. Two years ago she started living in our shelter home, she continued attending school, in addition to participating in all the activities proposed to improve his mental health and abilities and, today, the Mumbai Smiles team is very happy to be able to say that she is ready to go to university and fulfill her dream: to be a social worker and help more girls like her. Furthermore, she wants to earn money to be able to buy a house and be able to get her mother out of the exploitative situation in which she lives.

From Mumbai Smiles we are helping her in all her procedures so that she can start university and become a great social worker.

Know more about Smita

A better future for herself and for her daughter

Vinita  arrived at Mumbai Smiles just a year ago, but it has already helped her finish her studies and prepare for university.

Like Smita, her mother had also been sexually exploited for many years, until she died. Her parents left her with her grandmother, but she ran away to get married and had a daughter. After her husband left her, she went to live with a friend of hers and started working in a bar as a dancer, although she also had to work as a sex worker.

After a long time with mental and health problems, she asked the NGO Navjeevan for help, who told us about her case. Vinita had tuberculosis and serious mental health problems, so we proposed that she move into the Udaan house to recover and rebuild her life. While she is recovering, her daughter is in another NGO where she would be under their care until Vinita is completely healthy.

After a lot of work and effort, Vinita has passed her last course and from Mumbai Smiles we are helping her with counseling sessions so that she can choose what she wants to study. Like many young women who have to start university, she is not clear about what career to choose and she hesitates between being a lawyer or a psychologist. What she is clear about is that she wants to give her daughter a better life and help more women who find themselves in a situation similar to hers.

Know more about Vinita

The reason for our presence

Cases like those of Smita and Vinita are what make us continue promoting projects to combat trafficking and for Human Rights. Thanks to the support of the team and their will, they have managed to transform their future and have the opportunity for a more dignified life, is our reason for being and what motivates us to continue working.

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