Kat-Katha (The Story of Puppets) , a not for profit registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 . It metaphorically represents the sex workers who live a life similar to puppets controlled by someone else. Kat-Katha works with the commercial sex workers and their children living on Garston Bastion (GB) Road, the largest red light area in India’s capital city, Delhi. Kat Katha’s vision is to present a set of life choices to the women and children living in the brothels of GB road and instill a sense of confidence enabling that choice. Katkatha’s target in the next ten years is to liberate 4000 families trapped in their communities and influence policy to impact 15 million sex-workers. Through its field mobilization, it currently works with women in 63 brothels out of a total of 77, reaching out to more than 2500 women and their children. It has crossed its first milestone of building trust with all the stakeholders including police, political leaders, brothel owners and sex-workers. It is now focusing on bringing more and more organizations to work on G.B. Road to provide services of education, health, legal awareness and skill based training. Kat-Katha works on four aspects of empowerment:
- Rights – Through collaboration with varied government agencies to provide Identity Proof and Citizenship Rights, Legal rights.
- Integration – Through Quarterly Mainstreaming events and volunteer programs with national universities, to dispel misconceptions about people living in the red light district.
- Skills – Training women on certain skills such as tailoring, book binding, and crafts. Also seeking to establish a Vocational Training Centre and to create “women owned cooperative businesses”
- Education– Children living in brothels are being provided social emotional support and academic training to send them to formal schools. An adult literacy program for women is operational and plans to inculcate health and financial literacy are underway.
Her journey started while she was working for a health organization. She was instructing brothel women on topics related to contraceptives and family planning. Her conversations with them went much beyond and she forged strong bonds of friendship with them. Through her relationship she realized the unfairness of their existence. She felt they were trapped in these brothels where all their dreams were suppressed and instead they were treated as “puppets” satisfying the desires of others. She wanted to break the strings holding these women back from living a life of their own choice. One day when a woman toldher that she wanted to learn to read, Gitanjali just began by teaching women in the brothels. Gitanjali is a woman on a mission, a seeker journeying the path and a sister connecting with family in the most unlikely of places. Amid all the external accolades she has received like her TEDx Talk, Gandhi Fellowship, Changelooms fellowship, Laureate Global Fellowship, Global Professional Fellowship, Gitanjali cares most about connecting with the human spirit.
To know more about Katkatha visit http://www.kat-katha.org/