From Sex Workers to Successful Entrepreneurs

By Santhosh Ramdoss|3rd Jun 2008
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We reported here on TC-I couple of months back about India’s first sex-workers bank being set up in Mumbai. A group of sex workers in Mysore have gone a step-further and emerged as successful entrepreneurs. Organized under an organization called Ashodaya Samithi, the group of 150 female, male and transgender sex workers have set up a successful community kitchen which sells lunches. The initiative recently won the ‘Development Marketplace‘ competition conducted by the World Bank [via Rediff.com]

The short-listed 75 finalists from among the 1,000 were invited to Mumbai to set up a stall, exhibit and explain their proposal to a team of jurors and convince them on their proposal. A sex worker and Ashodaya secretary Bhagyalakshmi did the promotional work. She convinced the jurors on the innovativeness, replication and sustainability of their project and made Ashodaya qualify to receive the World Bank grant of $40,000 on May 15 in Mumbai from actor and UNICEF envoy Shabana Azmi

Its interesting to note that the theme of the comeptition this year was “Tackling HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination”. For the sex worker community, running a successful business not only provides them a rerliable income opportunity, but also a better chance to tackle stigma and discrimation – a welcoming side-effect.

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