Internship @ Saheli Karyakarta Sangh (NGO), Pune [A Collective of Sex Wokers]: Great Work, No Stipend

Name. College. Year of Study

Ritvik Kulkarni, ILS Law College, Pune. II Year BSL LLB

Name of the organisation. City

Saheli Karyakarta Sangh, Pune

How big was the office? Team strength?

The office is a little small.

Three members in the administrative team.

Application procedure. Internship contact details

You can call at the office on 020-65287296.

Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings

4 weeks. May-June 2013, Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m to 4 p.m.

Accommodation: how, where, how was it?

I stay in Pune and have private transport, so accommodation is no issue.

The office is located in Budhawar Peth, near the Dagdusheth Ganpati Temple.

First impression. First day, formalities etc.

On the first day I was given a tour of the office.

Tejaswi Ma’am educated me upon her field of work, introduced me to the office members and to the other interns working there.

I was assigned to a rather daring task  on the very first day.

 Main tasks

The NGO is a collective of sex-workers; they are the board of directors. Tejaswi Ma’am, along with Deepa Ma’am and Mandakini Ma’am, helps them with their work of bettering the poor condition of the sex workers.

There is a lot of field work available, as well as scope for research. The office is located in the city’s red light area.

Inter alia, I worked a little in the field which included taking a sex worker to the hospital for medical check-ups. Successfully obtained ration card for the sex workers. I also helped a little in constructing their website.

Majority of my work comprised of the Right to Information procedure, including delivering the the RTI Application to the doorstep of an organisation we planned to sue. It was an eye-opening learning experience.

But the workload wasn’t as heavy as I hoped, so there will be some days without any or very little work.

Work environment, people

The work environment was something that I can put on the next header! Amazing people from varied disciplines (including dentistry and architecture) who I got to learn a lot from.

The office staff too was very polite and helpful; such things just motivate you to work harder.

A special mention to the Director Ms. Tejaswi Sevekari; apart from being extremely hard-working and dedicated to her work, she is the COOLEST boss you will ever work for. Know more about her here.

Saheli Karyakarta Sangh pune, internship, law student, sex workers collective

Best things? 

The best part was that in an NGO without a legal work background, I got to work with their lawyer and filed my first Right to Information Forms (and later Appeals).

You get to interact directly with the former sex workers, and see them rise from their miserable times into acquiring economic and social autonomy over their lives.

It runs a day care center for the kids of their members. I once got the opportunity to look after and play with those kids. It was a lot of fun! Delectable coffee and extremely addictive dartboard.

What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues

The work environment was informal and my co-interns were roughly my age, so we all got along pretty well. Some of us got our lunches to the office and the community kitchen prepared food for the others at a very small fee.

We sat for lunch together (along with the entire office staff) and that was our time to chill. Occasionally I would go to a near-by sweet shop and get a large bottle of Pepsi for my co-interns,  and we would all have a glass along with a pack of chips.

And of course, the dartboard was a great stress-buster. But if chilling is sipping coffee at CCD or Barista, then there’s no such  place in close proximity to pass time .

Stipend/ month

No stipend.

Anything else you’d like to tell

One of the better choices for an NGO internship. Time it well and you’ll get to do a lot of good work.

Biggest lessons

Every moment working for Saheli brings to a step closer to a gross reality. And every effort made in this NGO is a bigger step to alter this reality.


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