Day 1 in New Delhi …Apne Ap, “An Ounce of Prevention”
Our first day in New Delhi, brought us to one of our OTM Partners, Apne Ap Worldwide.
Apne Ap ‘s main focus is the prevention of “at risk” children being trafficked, and are currently working with women who have already fallen prey to sex traffickers. Apne Ap’s task is seemingly an insurmountable one, as the definition here in India of “at risk” is being poor, uneducated, marginalized, and female. This description fits virtually every female child, of literally hundreds of thousands of women currently being exploited in the illegal sex trade.
The directors and employees of Apne Ap, are working tirelessly with the victims to educate and empower them, and more importantly, to find sustainable solutions to this end.
When the victims are asked what is of the greatest importance and immediate concern to them, the answer invariably is that their children not fall prey to their fate.
Crucial to meeting this need, one of the projects Apne Ap has implemented is to provide a “safe house”, or community center, where the children are able to gather in a safe and wholesome environment to socialize, learn computer, reading skills, sewing and dance.
As we approached the steps of the center, the children’s excitement was palpable. I felt as if the center itself was going to explode from the anticipation of our arrival. My heart too, was swelling in my chest and felt as if it would explode in unison. We received warm welcome greetings, handshakes, and hugs. There was an abundance of sweet shining smiles, and innocent sparkling eyes that were reflective of the innocence still tenuously hanging by a thread in their little hearts. How precious and ephemeral that innocence is. As I touched each and every child there, be it with a handshake, smile or eye contact, my silent prayer for each and every one of them, as well as the millions I will never see, ” may you stay forever young”
I am very grateful and honored to have been able to share their space with them. Those faces have left an indelible imprint in my heart.
Thank you Apne Ap for your service, and continuing to pour in your loving care, ounce by ounce, through prevention. May you succeed in draining this cesspool of human injustice and transform it into a vessel of love for fellow humanity.
Below are some testimonials for Apne Ap. if you would like to learn more about Apne Aplease visit my “Partners and Projects” blog on this site.
In love and gratitude.
Abolish 21st Century Slavery
Ashley Judd, Actress/Activist:
“Ruchira Gupta is well versed in the reciprocal cycles of poverty and exploitation, and how gender inequality sets the stage. Her NGO is based on two Gandhian principles: Antodaya (power to the last wo/man) and Ahimsa (non-violence), and which says so eloquently that the destruction which happens in the soul of an abuser is absolutely equal to the victimization of the abused. She operates the NGO right in the ‘hood,’ inviting anyone to join. They teach their members self reliance, self efficacy, self respect, self love. It’s capacity building of the most essential sort.”
Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, Authors,”
Half the Sky”:
“Ruchira is a hearty, loquacious woman with brown skin, black hair and an infectious manner… Ruchira Gupta and her staff at Apne Aap are part of a growing abolitionist movement that is forming around the world and having a real impact on sex slavery.”
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Laureate:
“It is Ruchira’s tiny NGO that is making a difference in the world. I visited India on the invitation of her NGO, Apne Aap, which works with women and their children who live in red light districts. No government can limit or repress such small organisations.”