The Urja Trust shelters over 50 girls every year and has managed to rehabilitate 250 women in the past four years. Currently, 19 girls live in this shelter home which was once a garment factory.
Raziya* from Mumbai ended her 17-year-long oppressive marriage to a man who restricted her from even going out of the house. She pursued her passion for hair styling and completed a course from an academy for the same. She recently got her passport and cannot wait to travel the world.
Shalini* ran away from home to escape abuse at the hands of her alcoholic father. Now liberated, she ran the Mumbai marathon, passed her 10th exams and is able to partially support herself with a part-time job.
These are just 2 of the 250 women who have been aided by The Urja Trust – an NGO founded by Deepali Vandana in 2012. This organization shelters women who are vulnerable, homeless or have run away from home due to domestic violence.
As a Dalit woman, Deepali understands the courage needed to fight against this rigid society that classifies people on the basis of caste, religion and gender. It is due to these atrocities and the desire to do social good that Deepali founded this organization that helps women who are in need.
“We should understand that these girls are not playing the victim card; they want to make their lives better and live independently.” – Deepali
Once the women are brought in, the counselors at The Urja initiate conversation and ask them the reason why they decided to run away. If the counselors feel the problem can be resolved, they approach the women’s parents to try and get them to reconcile. If the woman has faced immense trauma, she is given both, psychiatric and legal help.
When Deepali had started out, no one was ready to give space to house single women. The society was quick to judge the girls’ character. Hence, an old garment factory was turned into a safe haven for hundreds of women.
The Urja provides them with non-formal education and non-traditional training. They are taught sewing, driving, typing, animation and even sales. Most of them take up beautician courses. Basic math and English are taught after which the women can take the National Institute of Open Learning Exams.
Once, the girls are deemed financially independent, they are encouraged to make their own living.