Girls For The Last Girl...
Last night I had the privilege of attending an awards dinner at the Cosmopolitan Club hosted by Apne Aap founder Ruchira Gupta and Philanthropist Emma Snowdon-Jones in honor of Ashley Judd—Feminist Social Justice Humanitarian/Actress, Dorchen Leidholdt —Abolitionist Attorney, and Mona Sinha—Gender–Equality Advocate & Director of Apne Aap, with special guest Gloria Steinem—Journalist & Women's Rights Activist.
Apne Aap, an organization founded by twenty-two women from Mumbai’s red light district, had a vision of a world where no woman could be bought or sold. Girls For The Last Girl is a U.S.-based organization created to support the work of Apne Aap founded by a small group of students, who work with their members and supporters to carry out a two-part mission:
Support the Delhi Centre for the Last Girl–The Delhi Center for the Last Girl is a safe space affiliated with a local school on the Delhi-Haryana border. Girls from different castes and communities, that are trapped in intergenerational prostitution, are enrolled into the school and supported with life-skills and homework by Apne Aap staff members. They also receive meals, vocational training and legal assistance at the school premises out of school hours with the help of the Apne Aap team. The girls and their mothers are assisted by Apne Aap staff to get birth certificates, caste certificates, and food ration cards. This in turn enables them to get low cost food, low cost health care and low-cost housing, creating an exit pathway out of prostitution or reducing the risk to prostitution.Weekly writing, dance, craft and open-mic sessions provide a space for self-expression. A peer-run Girls Club teaches and empowers members to protect themselves and others against prostitution, forced marriages, and trafficking. Girls and their mothers receive receive legal help to file cases against their traffickers.
Advocate for inclusion of The Last Girl in the U.N. development goals and national agendas across the world-The Delhi Center for the Last Girl is a safe space located in the heart of Delhi. Girls from different caste-ghettos who are victims of sex- and labor-trafficking are brought to the Center every day. Here, children of prostituted women and those at risk of forcible coercion into sex trafficking receive vocational training, informal education classes, and legal assistance. They are helped to obtain birth certificates and other government subsidy cards. Without the Center’s assistance, these girls and their daughters are at high risk for conscription into prostitution, child marriage, child labor or all three.In addition to meals and medical services, girls are provided with an educational curriculum and marketable skills such as computer, video and sewing classes. They also have access to a range of recreational activities including art and dance lessons. Weekly writing and open-mic sessions provide a space for self-expression. A peer-run Girls Club teaches and empowers members to protect themselves and others against prostitution, forced marriages, and trafficking, and introduces basic civic privileges such as government IDs and subsidies. Additionally, girls receive legal help to file cases against their traffickers.
"Apne Ape is making change on the ground–not just in an organization– but in people's real lives" – Gloria Steinem
Each year 1.4 million girls are sold into sex trafficking.
With the support of Apne Aap, Girls For The Last Girl is able to help bring awareness to ending sex trafficking and providing hope and support to women in India.
As a sexual abuse survivor, organizations similar like Apne Aap have helped me cope with my abuse and how it affected me. Honestly, the only difference between myself and The Last Girl is circumstance. I was blessed enough to have the support of family members—an opportunity not afforded to most young girls. As described on Girls For The Last Girl's website—The Last Girl is poor, young and neglected by society and development interventions. She exists in every culture in the world, but remains the last one to receive social, legal or economic support. Girls For the Last Girl believes that when empowered through community, education and decision-making power, she will thrive and pass on the benefits to those around her.
I once carried the burden of sexual abuse and now I'm able to let the pain, suffering, and shame melt away. Please help me support Apne Aap and Girls For The Last Girl by donating here.
If you are a young woman reading this post and feel you are being abused—sexually, verbally or mentally—please reach out. You are not alone and I am here to help. I ask that you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we can end sexual abuse and sex trafficking across the globe!