Dr. Sunitha Krishna – Ms Man-Dola

24th Nov, 2017

| by writesolutions

Sunitha Krishnan’s firm voice does full justice to her fighter’s spirit. She summons every ounce of emotion in her when she raises her voice for the victims of sexual crimes not just in India but across the world. Her huge body of selfless work reflects her commitment.

She is an inspiration to all those men and women, who are mistaken in their belief that rape victims should feel ashamed and victimized all their lives. Sunitha Krishnan knows and makes others understand that rape is an unfortunate accident that can befall anyone, who has the power to abuse and is galvanizing India’s battle against sexual slavery by uniting government, corporations, and NGOs to end human trafficking.

Gang-raped by eight men when she was barely 15, Krishnan had to deal with all that, and more. Though violated, she refused to be broken down and founded an institution that assists trafficked women and girls in finding shelter and hope.

From Victim to Champion

One big accomplishment of Krishnan’s life has been Prajwala, a voluntary organization (NGO) that rescues and rehabilitates victims of sex abuse. She co-founded Prajwala (eternal flame) in 1996 with the help of a Catholic priest, Brother Jose Vetticatil, who, unfortunately, died in 2005, just a few years after the establishment of Prajwala.

Then started alone plodder’s journey from a ramshackle brothel in Hyderabad, converted into a school for the children of sex workers. Over the past two decades, Sunitha must have provided shelter and dignified living to 10,100 women and their children.

Today, Prajwala offers five kinds of support and succor: prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration, and advocacy. The organization also offers financial and legal help to these women and supports them in bringing the perpetrators to book, however long the legal wrangle may take. To date, Prajwala has served over 12,000victimes, and the scale of her operations places her as one of the largest anti-trafficking shelters in the world!

The warehouse of energy and optimism that she is, Krishnan’s enthusiasm rubs off easily on those around her. Knowing that their battle is far from won, Sunitha is constantly throwing challenges at her staff, urging them to tap their full potential. She not just monitors, she also mentors her workers in all spheres of their work and personal lives.

Happily, the organization’s “second-generation” prevention programme now operates in 17 transition centers and has put thousands of children of sex workers in school. Several of the women and children she works with are HIV positive. Krishnan not only provides them timely medical aid, she also assists them in finding gainful employment after training them in carpentry, welding, printing, masonry, and housekeeping, at her in-house training programmes.

Prajwala has over 200 employees, but Krishnan runs the organization as a full-time volunteer—a decision she took very early in her life. She and her husband support their small means with book writing, public talks, and seminars on trafficking conducted worldwide.

Structured and to-the-point, at all such talks, she tells three powerful stories, one of which is her own. Without mincing words, she calls for a more humane approach to helping these young women rebuild their lives. All of four feet and six inches (140cm), she measures up to the tallest in the gathering, and in contemporary India with the kind of work that she has taken upon herself and discharges it with such commitment.


Radhika Sachdev

Content Strategist

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