Ashodaya Samithi has come into existence to fill a vital gap in capacity enhancement and Empowerment of highly marginalized groups of sex workers in the Asia Pacific region.Of all the groups vulnerable to HIV/AIDS,sex workers are the most at risk of getting the infection with very minimal coping skills to protect themselves from the virus. The Regional Support Team of UNAIDS came forward with financial support to fill this vital gap and facilitated establishment of the Ashodaya Samithi in Mysuru in India.Within a short period the Samithi succeeded in attracting candidates from all parts of Asia Pacific region who felt empowered after attending the training programmes in the Samithi under the leadership of Dr Sushena Paul and faculty members.
Establishment of the Samithi has helped in imparting skills and empowerment of thousands of sex workers and is regarded as a best practice not just in the region but globally.The website which is now getting established will make the knowledge available to a larger group of sex workers,besides making the good work known to thousands of researchers and civil society members across the region.
"I thought I knew what participatory health research was. And then I began to work with Ashodaya in 2006. Although I spent much time with the Ashodaya team conducting research training sessions, it is I who have frequently found myself in the position of student, having learned so much from them about the interconnections between activism, social change, knowledge production and well-being. Ashodaya has been a vital force in my research learning and serve as an example of community research excellence that still has much to teach to us!"- Dr. Robert Lorway
We never say no when community ask us for help. Even when we did not have funds to provide handholding support, we found a way to provide help needed.- Jaya Lakshmi
We want to inspire, empower and build these communities so that they also become social conscious about their rights, know how to claim these rights and assert a social position. This is our dream.- Jinendra
As a community, we all say no to sex without condoms. We will not have sex without condoms, even if it means we do not get clients for the day. This is one of our standards for ourselves and we follow this rule. This is why condom use among sex workers in mysore been consistently high over the years.- Akram
Sex worker are invlolved in target intervention programmes for preventing HIV/ADIS and the government needs to work with them if they want to holistically stop trafficking.- Renuka