Sampada Gramin Mahila Sanstha


People should believe that they can change things. It is not about a few activists fighting for other people’s rights. Anybody who has imbibed this understanding should be able to go and fight for their rights.

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Sangram is a voluntary organization that works at the grass root level with a lot of activists, volunteers and paid workers. It is slowly gaining importance as a practical training ground for other NGO’s and GO’s interested in working on HIV/AIDS in a rural context. SANGRAM started its work with women in prostitution and sex work from South Maharashtra and North Karnataka way back in 1992 and has since fanned out among diverse populations. SANGRAM is based in Sangli district, which has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in Maharashtra after Mumbai.

The organization works to create a collective consciousness among women, to increase their ability to negotiate safety independently, and strengthen women to assert their rights. Women’s Rights are particularly difficult to talk about, because they question traditional patriarchal structures. It also helps discuss official policies, legal and ethical issues which affect stigmatized and marginalized groups and to create spaces which these groups can use The organization helps to discuss the rights of women, people with diverse sexualities and people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Response to Jessica Neuwirth’s piece in The Guardian, by Meena Seshu

Response to Jessica Neuwirth’s piece in The Guardian, by Meena Seshu

The Guardian statement: Amnesty International says prostitution is a human right – but it's wrong → Response to Jessica Neuwirth’s piece in The Guardian, by Meena Seshu → Letter to support Amnesty International

The Right(s) Process

Support for Positive Women

SANGRAM + was formed as a support network for positive women in Sangli District which now provides monthly support meetings at taluka (block tehsil) level for around 350 women from the district.

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JUSTICE FOR ANU MOKAl - Stop State violence against women in sex work

More than a month has passed since the police in Satara beat up a pregnant sex worker so severely that she had a miscarriage. No action has been taken against the perpetrators. The incident occurred on 2 April 2012 between 7-7.30 pm. Anu Mokal accompanied by Anjana Ghadge were taking dabba [dinner] for her friend Jaya Kamble who was admitted in the civil hospital. When they were passing Satara bus stand area, senior police inspector Dayanand Dhome started yelling at them using abusive language. When they told him that they were only taking food for their friend, he called them liars and without any provocation, Dhome and his subordinates started beating Anu and her friend Anjana Ghadge. Dhome repeatedly said that women like Anu are a shame to him while he continued to kick her. Anu fell down and pleaded that she was four months pregnant but they continued kicking and beating her. She was then forcibly taken to the police station. Anu and Anjana were detained and put in a lockup from where Anu and anjana were routinely taken to civil hospital for treatment. Anu told the doctor she was pregnant and he prescribed medication, but the police didnt allow her to buy nor did they give the medication to her. On 3/4/2012 they were produced before the magistrate and were released after a payment of Rs 1200 fine for an offense not known to them or specified. They were taken to the civil hospital again by members of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad [VAMP] and Anu received medication. But on 5/04/2012 night, she suffered a miscarriage. The miscarriage is quite likely to have resulted from the trauma of the thrashing by Dayanand Dhome and his subordinates. She has filed a complaint against Inspector Dhome and his colleagues with the Superintendent of Police M. M. Prasanna. However, her complaint and visit to the SP have been in vain. SANGRAM the organisation that runs the Maharashtra State AIDS Society HIV/AIDS prevention project with women in sex work and sexual minorities in Satara District also sent a written complaint to home minister R.R.Patil, DSP Prasanna, Satara and Regional DIG Tukaram Chavhan, demanding that action be taken against Dayanad Dhome and others, but to no avail. DSP Prasanna told a delegation from VAMP on 30/04/2012 that an enquiry is instituted but would not commit as to when we can expect a result. Anu and Anjana are members of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad so are aware of their legal and human rights. They are asking for justice and their right to get a hearing. Anu feels that the miscarriage due to severe beating and the subsequent trauma are not taken seriously because she is a sex worker. In fact, the police had the audacity to tell these women that sex workers cannot be mothers. NO LAW in the country allows Police, in this case a Male Police to physically assault a women. Anu and the sex worker community need the support of progressive movements to make an impact and get justice. Actually, we feel very demoralized because if the police had done this to a non sex worker everyone would be up in arms. NO body reacted after it appeared in the papers in Satara, too. Durga said, if it was a `gharguti [wife] woman everyone would protect her womb, [ vanshacha diva - heir] but because it is a sex worker her fetus is not considered sacred or that she has a `vansh, as a `bad woman. That is what the police and society think, in any case."Read More"

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MSM Peer Educator Group

In 2000, a small group of men from Sangli approached SANGRAM, asking for a programme focused on men who have sex with men (MSM); they established Muskan, a peer educator group for kothis and jogappas.

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Resource Center

CASAM’s resource center focuses exclusively on issues of Stigma and Marginalisation. We have already been able to collect literature on the issue from different sources in and around the country. Some of our publications are available under the library section of the website. At present we have Mr. Thipse, based in Pune, who helps collect resource materials for the center. As of now we are already in the process of creating a database, which is building on the collected materials from various sources and documenting experiences of people who have been stigmatized and marginalized through out their lives. CASAM Resource Center consists of Books, Periodicals, Articles and Papers, Newspaper Clippings, Audio Visual Materials such as Posters, CDs, and photographs etc. CASAM Library has collected 265 articles on Sex Workers and related issues through scanning various periodicals as well as books that are available in CASAM Library and other libraries also. All articles have been classified into 30 topics. Trainee librarian has abstracted 85 Articles. Professional abstracter is editing these articles in proper terminology to fulfill the needs of information seeker. This information will be uploaded on website of SANGRAM / CASAM to facilitate easy retrieval of required information. More than 50 articles have been identified and will be available within week for consultation. The resource center has 241 Books , 265 Articles, 394 Newspaper Clippings, 77 CDs, 50 Posters , 280 Photographs.

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VAMP takes on documentary film-maker

This brief (3.5) minute clip by the Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP, Prostitutes’ Collective Against Injustice), encapsulates a succinct response to ‘Prostitutes of God’, a sensationalized and factually flawed documentary produced by Sarah Harris for VBS TV. Countering the distorted perspective in the film, women from VAMP present their incisive views about sex work; religion and faith; livelihoods; issues of consent; ethics and cross-cultural sensitivities while making documentary films. The women in Sangli from VAMP recorded video responses to the film. In the age of the internet, women in countries far away who used to be the objects of white peoples gaze with no right of reply now have access to the representations that are made of them, and the technological means to answer back. A naive westerner may seize the headlines, but theres now scope for there to be a debate and to bring those who in the past would have remained voiceless victims into that debate to represent themselves.It is a great opportunity to put the record straight. This clip has been produced by Sangli Talkies, the newly-launched video unit of SANGRAM / VAMP.

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Hostel for Children of Sex Workers

In 2009, a hostel for children of sex workers was started by VAMP in collaboration with SANGRAM at Nippani. The Mitra hostel as it was named caters to children of sex workers from five districts in North Karnataka and Western Maharashtra.

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More on the District Campaign

The District Campaign is spread over 713 villages of Sangli district, which consists of nine tehsils. The DC is run by 49 workers including administrative staff. 30 women organisers manage 53 primary health centers and 10 workers are placed at the rural hospitals. SANGRAM has a counselor placed at the district civil hospital

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