The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which has succeeded in imparting education to jail inmates has now reached the infamous lanes of the red light area in Nagpur.
The Nagpur Regional Centre of IGNOU in its efforts to reach out to the marginalized has just added a feather in its cap by collaborating with the Indian Red Cross Society in providing educational opportunity to Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs) of 'Ganga Jamuna' area.
The Indian Red Cross which has been working with CSWs by providing them counseling on health related issues joined hands with IGNOU to first conduct an awareness camp for the CSWs on Teachers' Day last year.
With this joint effort, for the first time nine CSWs took admission for the January 2015 session in the Bachelors Preparatory Program of IGNOU in September.
Bachelors Preparatory Program is a non formal stream of entry to graduation. Anyone with 18 years age can take admission into this program by submitting age proof.
These unfortunate women submitted their Aadhar Card as age proof, as they did not have any other documents with them, said Dr P Sivaswaroop, Regional Director of IGNOU Nagpur, who counseled them to enroll for higher studies in their leisure time.
If they are educated, they can teach their children also and may get employed elsewhere. Also, they can act as role models for their fraternity to take up education, he said.
He also mentioned how other disadvantaged sections of the society like prisoners and Gadchiroli tribal women are pursuing studies through IGNOU.
Hemlata Pandey Lohave, Co-ordinator, Indian Red Cross Society, who also motivated these sections to study, told PTI that the new entrants were enthusiastic about studies.
She is a regular visitor to the area and supervises distribution of condoms to CSWs.
The nine CSWs belong to Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra, she said.