: ashodayasamithi@yahoo.co.in

Co-opertive Society

Sadhana didi Multi-purpose Co-operative

Community-demands and community-needs have been the core of Ashodaya Samithi’s intervention. The Sadana Didi Multipurpose Co-operative Society (SDMCS) was the response to community members’ financial insecurity. SDMCS was formed in Mysore, Karnataka, in 2013, as an initiative to address the financial and economic instabilities that exist within the sex worker community. Prior to the formation of the SDMCS, sex workers in the area had little means of saving their earnings–that is, they distributed or had their earnings taken away by others such as their family, boyfriends, ―goons (thugs), and police. Discrimination against their occupation denied them access to bank accounts, and they were forced to borrow from other people, primarily moneylenders or loan sharks. Their lack of savings and indebtedness propelled them deeper into spirals of debt and financial bondage. They agreed to riskier sexual transactions that paid more, even if it meant sacrificing their health and well-being.

Although a separate entity to Ashodaya, they have been working alongside one another and providing each other support. The SDMCS adopted the same principle as Ashodaya: ―by, with and for the sex workers. It now operates in all four districts (Mysore, Mandya, Kodagu and Chikmagulur) of Ashodaya’s operation. SDMCS is governed by an independent Board of Directors consisting entirely of sex workers, who are all members of the co-operative society and are elected by the other members of the society. The democratic process allows for member interest, participation and motivation among the community.

SDMCS has widened its scope to provide education, home and personal loans to the members. It currently has 1107 savings bank account holders and having Rs,20,57,600 share capital from 1737share-holders and had an annual turnover of Rs,4,04,45,000 in 2018-19.