Value Others Above Yourselves

Navjeevan Centre, India

Sana Khan on October 12, 2018 in Education

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

-    Philippians 2:3

Back in 1994, during Christmas season a small group of people from the Mar Thoma Church visited Kamatipura a brothel area where sex workers reside and work. The group toured the area for a short Christmas carol program and by the end, asked the women living around, about what they really wanted and how could the group help them in the coming time. The women replied by saying that they wanted their children to get a proper education and a better life than what they had. To fulfill this responsibility the group started working in full force for these women and their children, and now Navjeevan Centre has completed 24 years.

The initiative started by the Mar Thoma Church, which has given a chance to several children and their mothers to relive their lives give them the rights that every regular citizen of this country deserves and supported them with food education and shelter.

Now, there are 9 units all over Mumbai and the Thane district. They include around 3 day & night care shelters at Red Light areas of Mumbai, a residential home in Kapri Village in Tokowade, Murbad. Navjeevan Centre also has an English medium primary & secondary school, and two extension homes to support higher education

We had the opportunity to connect with one of the members of the organization, who has been actively supporting Navjeevan Centre for the last 15 years and has been serving the society through various social activities for almost 30 years now. Said, when we started the journey, Navjeevan Centre’s work and orders weren't perfectly formed, we faced challenges, we had our ups and downs, we even brought about changes in our work habits through the years. To speak with the mothers of these children was a task itself, we had to convince them and tell them about how we could support them and how did we plan it through, and what all we had to offer. It was definitely very challenging for us at the start because the mothers were not willing to give their kids away but now it’s comparatively better than before, because the elder women living there tell the younger ones about us and the help we provide.”

The children raised in such brothels do not have a proper meal and lack the nutrition that is necessary for an average human body. “These kids usually eat Vada pav daily or any junk food that is easily available to them around the corner. The mothers or maybe the clients would push the kids away or hand them a small amount for food, to drive them off the rooms during service hours.”

Navjeevan Centre helps little children get the basic nutritious value by providing them with food by admitting them at the centers functioning in the vicinity of the red-light area and all of this is free of cost to both the mothers and the children.

“We take in children from these brothels and start by teaching them all the required norms because they are usually not aware of the most basic things like hygiene or the necessary cleanliness habits because their mothers don’t have the needed conducive environment to ensure positive growth of the children. Once the children have adjusted to the disciplined system at our centers, with the consent of the mother and the approval of the Child Welfare Committee, they are then transferred to our residential home ‘Navjeevan Village’ at Kapri, in Murbad Taluka. At the Village, we have 150 children at the age of 5 to 18 years. Later we start to educate them, give them a basic tutoring that is taught to the kids from the kindergarten up to 12th or their graduation and if they wish to study more, we support them by helping with their placements into various colleges and helping them get a job into workplaces too without mentioning or letting anyone know about their background, so that he or she can have a peaceful normal life.”

Navjeevan Centre has made a difference in the lives of the underprivileged women and their children, by motivating and assisting them to achieve their potential rights as a human, to help them grow, become confident, and live the rightful life they deserve. They helped and supported women with empowerment, rehabilitation, and reintegration and has been growing more in the last 24 years.

We often do not realize how privileged we are to have a wholesome meal 3 times a day, go to schools or colleges regularly, and sleep warmly in a bed. There is still a huge part of this world, with people who are incapable to fill their bellies daily, who are unable to vocalize their rights, or who are just disconnected from a normal life outside without their will.

To show your support and for more information, please visit the Navjeevan Centre’s website.

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