Hi, I'm Sheetal! I'm 19, in 10th grade and I love to dance and play drums. A normal teenage life? Yes, but I grew up in Mumbai's red-light area. I am the daughter of a sex worker and I've never met my dad. I'm still in 10th because I've only been to school 3 years of my life. I faced a lot of violence, rape and discrimination....But I have big dreams! I want to go to a music school in the US for drumming diploma so I can start music classes in the red-light area. Will you help me get to the USA?
Like all girls growing up in the red-light area, I never had access to quality education, healthcare and other resources. I was taught that "a prostitute's daughter will only be a prostitute" and I was never allowed to have big dreams. But when I came to Kranti NGO, I studied, I had therapy, and most importantly, I had the chance to dream. I also found my passion in life - playing the drums. I want to attend this 1-year diploma program and bring music to my community, Kamathipura red-light area.
In the past 2 years, I have seen how powerful music can be as a tool for social change. I have seen people drumming to protest, drumming to fundraise and drumming to entertain. I want to do all of these things for my community. I also want the opportunity to live and study abroad - it has always been a childhood dream which I, a sex worker's daughter, never thought would come true. But I believe an experience like this will help me as a person and as a leader.
I need around $20,000, to complete the course. I know this is a lot of money for one person. But the money will not end with me - I will use the skills, confidence and experiences I gain to help other girls from my community. They also deserve the chance to have big dreams and amazing experiences. I want to start a music program in Kamathipura because I think music is amazing therapy. I also want sex workers and their kids to use music to fight for their rights, especially when they are protesting police brutality and other big problems.
My speech in One Billion Rising: