The sight of a four-month-old baby tugging at her mother's clothes while she attended to a client helped transgender activist Gauri Sawant make up her mind -- she had to do something for the future of sex workers' children. Sawant is now striving to build a foster home -- 'Nani ka Ghar' (Grandma's home) -- which she hopes will not only prevent children from being dragged into prostitution, but also help them build their lives. Sawant, who adopted the orphaned daughter of a sex worker in 2001, feels that such children are often subjected to discrimination, even if they are put up in hostels away from home. "They can't tell the world that their mother is a sex worker and that they grew up in a hostel. But nobody would question them if they say they grew up at 'nani ka ghar'," Sawant told PTI. The activist, who was recently seen in a television advertisement advocating adoption rights for transgenders, has decided to use her 2,000-square-foot land in a small village near Mumbai to build the two-storey home she has in mind. She has collaborated with crowdfunding portal Milaap to raise an amount of Rs 20 lakh needed for the building. The children would be taken care of by 'nanis' or older transgenders who no longer go out for work, but "have immense experience and can take care of the household", she said. "We are planning to have a kitchen, a hall and an office on the ground floor, and a large hall upstairs.
There would be common washrooms. And one nani for every two children," she said. However, building the home is only the first step. "I am sure we will raise the money for the house, but the question is how will we run the house? Bringing up children is not an easy task," she said. Giving children the right kind of education by sending them to school is one of the main objectives behind the home. She said she hoped to raise money for this through corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of corporate houses and donations by NGOs.
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