Renu Appachu has been developing models to improve the health and well-being of sex-workers.
She began her journey by leveraging sex-workers to engage and influence the behaviour of men to follow safe sexual practices. Sex workers acted as “role models’ and brought their partners to clinics set up in nearby areas. Non-judgemental information about male sexual health, open discussions on sexuality and counseling helped build trust with a wide community, including transexual and trasngender minorities. Today, she continues to conduct workshops and provide medical facilities, counseling and sex education. Renu also conducted a 6 month program providing awareness and medical services in prisons to reduce the spread of sexual diseases owing to higher incidence of men having sex with men due to enclosed living and work environments.
Her engagement with sex workers showed her the need to create solutions for young girls being trafficked. In response, she started rescuing and rehabilitating them, providing home care for those who wanted to get out of this work and find alternate livelihoods. The Jagruthi staff provided counseling to overcome trauma to the children, once they were brought to the home. They also create unique Individual Intervention Plans reflecting the child’s needs, interests, aptitude, planning a skill development plan in line with their future development. These young girls eventually decide whether they want to live independently or reintegrate with their families.
Note: This was updated in February, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile