Guria Swayam Sevi Sansthan

Project Brief: Formal/Non formal education of children from red light communities
Project Type: Capex / Infrastructure (description)
Primary Focus: children of sex workers (description)

Secondary Focus: children of migrant workers

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Berkeley
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Devdatta Akhawe
Project Partner(s): Ajeet Singh
Other Contacts: Nina John
Project Address: , S-8/395, Khajuri Colony,,,
Tel: 91-542-2504253
Stewarding Chapter: Berkeley
Sep 2014San FranciscoUSD 9335
Mar 2014BerkeleyUSD 7829
May 2012BerkeleyUSD 10000
Dec 2008BerkeleyUSD 7000
Jul 2007Silicon ValleyUSD 22500
May 2007DCUSD 1122
Dec 2006Work an HourUSD 8820
Mar 2006Work an HourUSD 5200
Apr 2004ArizonaUSD 5000
Dec 2004CentralNJUSD 5000
Feb 2003CentralNJUSD 4000
Feb 2003CentralNJUSD 2400
Dec 2003CentralNJUSD 3750

Total = $91956

Guria (pronounced, Gudiya) manages a Non-Formal Education (NFE) center at the heart of the red light district in Varanasi. This center has become extremely successful and has changed the lives of hundreds. The children in this center study more than just arithmetic and English; they study meditation as well as coping mechanisms to deal with the trauma of their childhood. The students learn in a judgmental free environment. They sit in a circle with their teacher and are able to speak freely. Such an environment is productive in that it enriches the children emotionally and educationally. This allows the children to truly express their concerns and get the help that they require.

The safe and enriching environment that Guria provides has allowed people to move past their misfortunate backgrounds and assimilate into the rest of the world. The center provides vocational training (e.g., nursing, computers, and tech repair) to help these children find alternate employment opportunities. The program has successfully rehabilitated a number of children.
Guria aims to end trafficking and forced prostitution of children. Their mission specifically targets children and women. At the crossroads of Nepal and Bangladesh, and cities like Delhi and Mumbai, Varanasi, India, has been a center for human trafficking and child exploitation for years. The huge foreign tourist industry in Varanasi exacerbates these problems. Struck by the plight of the children in the red light districts of Varanasi, Ajeet Singh created Guria to fight and advocate for these children. The vision: "To build a just and humane world where all beings coexist in harmony."

Due to Ajeet’s tireless efforts, human trafficking has considerably diminished in Varanasi. But there is still a considerable need for Guria’s work in other cities. Asha is currently helping Ajeet replicate the successful Varanasi model in Mau, Uttar Pradesh. Guria is constructing a new center at Mau to accommodate the eighty children currently helped. Earlier this year, with Asha’s help, Guria purchased land for the center but now they are in need of classrooms, offices, and a kitchen.

Through the years, Guria has had many achievements. Guria has managed to sustain one of the first child prostitution free red light areas and has rescued ninety-eight girls from brothels. News Asia Channel, Singapore, selected the founder, Ajeet Singh, as the 2010 Asian of the Year. Network 18 also awarded him the "Real Heroes" award in 2011. However, in order for Guria and Ajeet to continue their amazing work, they are dependent on support from donors.