For several decades now, Nutan Samartha Vidyalaya in Budhwar Peth area has been imparting education to the children of commercial sex workers from the local red-light area, with Chandrashekhar Pansare standing firmly as a driving force behind the noble cause.
Pansare, a secretary of the school who also teaches and counsels the students, visits through the lanes of the red-light area along with his team every year to locate children who are deprived of education.
Hundreds of such underprivileged children have been benefited from the education offered by the school that doesn’t charge any money from them.
“We encourage mothers to drop their children at our school. We convince the commercial sex workers that their children have no future without education. When enrolled at school, we not only offer free education but also give them school uniform, shoes and even food,” he said.
Established by his father way back in 1926, Nutan Samartha Vidyalaya has so far rendered education to hundreds of such children. The ‘private aided’ category school offers education upto Class VII.
“We call periodic meetings of the sex workers and their children enrolled in our schools to ensure almost zero dropout rate. We interact and counsel these women as well as their children to know the issues faced by them so that we can address them effectively,” said Pansare.
Since life in the red-light area is full of traumatic experiences for the children staying there, Pansare and his team ensure these young ones find comfort in night shelters and other such measures undertaken by different NGOs and social organisations.
Since Nutan Samartha Vidyalaya offers education upto upper primary only, Pansare deals with a challenge every year to make his students continue with their studies.
“The Savali Seva Trust and other social organisations dedicated to educating and empowering children from red-light areas help us in ensuring that our children continue studies after leaving our school. We have several success stories to share as many such children have excelled in higher studies, securing top posts in government and private sector jobs,” he said.
Pansare was recently awarded by the Akhil Budhwar Peth Devdasi Sanstha, an NGO that works for the welfare of sex workers, for his work towards the welfare of the children of prostitutes. “Pansare and his school have transformed many lives. The future of these children would have been dark in his absence,” said NGO chairman Prakash Yadav.