Nagpur: A group of 40 commercial sex
workers from a red light area of the city have been given a
course in Gandhian thought and are now engaged in spreading
AIDS awareness among their colleagues.
It was during a programme on the death anniversary of
the Mahatma in January that a local NGO, Sahyog Trust, and the
Indian Red Cross Society decided to impart Gandhian philosophy
to the sex workers.
Though the initial response was not very encouraging,
the Trust did not give up and managed to convince them,
trustee of Sahyog Trust Ravindra Bhusari said.
In the beginning, the CSWs were sceptical about the
use of the studies.
However, Bhusari and others managed to convince them
saying the studies might help them lead a better life and in
upbringing their children in a more efficient way.
The organisations also held screenings of films
including the Sanjay Dutt starrer `Lage Raho Munna Bhai`. This
made them interested in taking up the course in Gandhian
The six-week course started in June. However, the
trust realised that most of the `students` were largely
illiterate, which is why, emphasis was given on audio-visual
An exam was conducted in `Gandhian Thought` early this
month and about 22 of the sex workers cleared it. Instead of
awarding certificates to them, the organisers presented them a
with a set of clothes at a function.
A majority of sex workers, who completed the course
belong to Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal, Bhusari said.
These `Gandhians` are now engaged in spreading AIDS
awareness and anti-addiction drive among the CSW.