Faced with prolonged lockdown in India, sex workers face great difficulties. In order to support their children, who are already particularly vulnerable, Action Education intervenes to provide them with education and nutrition.

According to the National AIDS Organization, a division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, more than 800,000 sex workers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing their livelihoods deeply affected. In order to best support the community of women sex workers, already supported by Action Education, we have strengthened our intervention in terms of education and nutrition.

Avoid an educational break

Due to the extended lockdown, Jyothi was particularly anxious. This sex worker, whose situation was already very precarious before the pandemic, is deeply concerned about the impact of this situation on the education of her little girl, Anjali. It is indeed established that home confinement of children increased their anxiety in several ways and caused psychological problems.

Throughout this period of uncertainty, the educator of our « Pahal » project ensured that each child could avoid a break in education by ensuring digital access to education. The educator contacted each mother who was looking for a suitable school support solution and was able to give lessons by mobile phone throughout the lockdown. The Pahal project scrupulously followed the Delhi government’s COVID-19 protocols regarding the closure of schools and the mode to be adopted for the education of the children. “My daughter was able to study every day with the help of the cell phone,” Jyothi says happily.

« A ray of hope for me and the future of my children »

Same relief for Saima. Until then, this sex worker and her two daughters Lyba and Ekra had led a life of despair and poverty. Working in a brothel in Delhi, Saima was often forced to neglect her children. The little girls would then find themselves playing at her workplace, where they were used to seeing a lot of things happening in front of their eyes.

Hearing about Action Education’s Anaya Pahal day center, which already welcomes the children of some of her colleagues, Saima wanted to send her own too, to protect them. After many discussions and talks with her employer, she was finally able to get her daughters admitted. They are now studying in class 3rd and 6th. « I am happy because the Anaya Pahal center looks after my daughters all day long so that I can do my job without worrying about their safety, » Saima says. This program is a ray of hope for me and the future of my children. I am very happy that my daughters are benefiting from it. I also thank the program for supporting us throughout the pandemic period by providing us with food rations. It kept us going, without it I wouldn’t have had enough money. « 

Part of our “Education For Women Now” campaign, supported by the L’Oréal Fund for Women – a philanthropic endowment fund created by the L’Oréal Group to support women in vulnerable situations – this project in India allows us to take concrete action with the most disadvantaged populations.

By  Kristen Poels