The gutsy, four-feet-something, anti-sex trafficking crusader, Sunita Krishnan, who was awarded the Padma Shri this year, has done it again. “All my children who attempted SSC exams passed, 100% results, super proud!” she posted as her Facebook status a few hours ago, proving yet again how a little bit of sunshine can heal lives.
Sunitha runs the Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala that rehabilitates victims of sex trafficking. The children she refers to here are girls who were rescued from the clutches of sex traffickers by her organisation. Of the seven girls who appeared, three got above 80%, two got above 70% and two got above 60%.
Elaborating her sentiment, she says in touching Facebook note, “Why am I super proud today? My children, all of them have survived gruesome sex crimes…fighting nightmares, guilt, pain and shame they chose to triumph in life. Although all of them went through a transition center within the campus for a minimum of two years to not only develop their scholastic skills but also psychological coping skills to deal with stigma and ostracisation, when they joined mainstream schools, they were constantly subjected to snide remarks for being ‘ashram girls’ and were ‘picked on’ with extra zeal for small disciplinary issues. Even if they looked at a boy, it was the end of the world for many…it hurt…but they continued to survive…
I still remember one of them nearly gave up and wanted to dropout midway in the tenth standard …when I met her I just told her that she is a winner anyway in life…the marks that she may or may not get is not going to define her life. She chose to continue her education. Today, she has successfully completed her X Std with 67%. Of the seven who appeared, three got above 80%, two got above 70% and two got above 60%. We did not send any of them for tuitions. Now you know I feel so proud.”
For those who do not know, Sunitha Krishnan has been at the forefront of fighting sex traffickers for decades now. Her short height (four-and-a-half-feet) is often compared to the huge and long impact her work is creating.
She has withstood many attacks on her life and still receives death threats. When she was 15, Sunitha was brutally gang raped and beaten up that led to partial hearing loss in one ear.
Through her relentless efforts, she has been able to bring about a change in the attitude of the government/police machinery towards victims. Her TEDIndia talk in Mysore has reached lakhs of people around the world raising awareness regarding sex trafficking.
She founded Prajwala around 1996. And so far, Prajwala has rescued and rehabilitated approximately 12,000 victims of sex trafficking, and according to Wikipedia, “the scale of their operations makes them the largest anti-trafficking shelter in the world.”