Children from red light areas deserve to breathe free from stigma | Pratik

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Pratik Datey is tirelessly working for a better community, that allows for the younger children to breathe free from stigma.

1. How did LetsRISE start? What was the objective behind it?

It all started with working for a school in Jahangir Nagar slum area behind Magarpatta city which we (Sourav and I) used to visit, after which we realised that in order to engage more people and provide financial assistance to such schools we should be a legal entity. So it was back in 2012 when we registered our cause based organisation, LetsRISE (Righteous Inspire Serve Educate) and launched a campaign called “Love Pune” on Valentine’s Day of 2013 which we continue to work on to make Pune a model city.

2. What is the current Cause of LetsRISE?

Under “Love Pune” campaign we are working on Project “Bhavishya” which is conceptualised as a permanent shelter home for commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking victim’s children to provide them with mainstream education, nutrition and hygiene. Currently Chaitanya Mahila Mandal is running a night crèche for these kids which is a temporary arrangement to keep kids away from the negative influences like drugs, abuse and many more. Our aim is to move these kids permanently away from the negative influences and keep them in mainstream society to give them a new future “Bhavishya”.

The idea was first coined by Jyoti Pathania ma’am of Chaitanya Mahila Mandal (CMM) to us and after seeing their selfless and inspiring work, we at LetsRISE decided to lead the fund raising part of the project.

3. What challenges did you face when you began? How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge we face even today is the denial of existence of these kids my the mainstream society and so a cold response that we get when we introduced “Bhavishya”. But there are some really active and socially aware people in our society who keep us going and we count on them. We are trying to reach builders and other people who can get this building constructed for the children on top of the women’s shelter home which is already built by CMM with approval from Government of India.

4. How is it to interact with the children? Can you share any incidence and how it taught you something?

All kids in the crèche are very young, most of them below 5 years of age. Interacting with them is always fun and a learning experience. Despite of being underprivileged and away from the mainstream world, they do not complain but enjoy their time in the crèche. They learn Marathi, Hindi and English alphabets and poems and they do it very well. I love to listen to them when they talk about what they want to become when they grow up. And we at LetsRISE really want to see that happen.

4. What are the other Projects you are excited about or working on?

Traffic awareness in the city is something we are looking at and launching our year long project “Padachinha”(Footprint) in October 2016 under which we will work for traffic rules, road safety and pedestrian safety along with the City traffic police.

Every Diwali, we give Thank you cards and gifts to Policemen and Public transport personnel on duty to express gratitude for their work when everyone else is with their family. This is very close to my heart and I want to continue participating in it for years to come. We also joined hands with “Swachh Pune Swachh Bharat” group where we are doing cleanup activities every Sunday morning from last one year and have cleaned several spots in the city including Bus stops, Flyovers, Railway station etc.

5. What according to you is the greatest resource?

It is the name of this interview series, “people”. People are the greatest resource for any society, community or organisation. They can make or break it, regardless of the availability of other resources.

6. What do you believe is the purpose of Life?

To be honest, I have not found it yet :) Ideally it should be impacting as many lives as possible in one life in a positive way. But I am yet to find mine, I hope to find it as I move forward with life :)

To know more click here.

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