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I am fundraising to help ex-Devadasi women start independent businesses and contribute to society through their talents.

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Hello dear friends!

This International Women’s Day, I’m fundraising on Milaap to help empower previously trafficked Devadasi women become independent through business. This is my first fundraiser for a cause that resonates close to my heart. I have been very blessed and fortunate to have been raised in a family and country where I have been given the freedom and opportunity to live life to the fullest with dignity, self-respect and most importantly choice. It truly saddens me to think of the plight of these women and how they were never allowed to live their lives as they had intended. This is an opportunity to empower these women by our giving to become self-reliant in their communities and to be example of never giving up in life. By providing for these women with a loan, we are hopefully breaking the system that will help keep their children out of this cycle and create new jobs within their communities.
I have included a brief on the Devadasi System, how this loan will be used and the ways you can help support the cause.

What is the Devadasi system?

An ancient practice in India, the Devadasi (meaning: ‘servant of God’) system involved dedicating a girl (as young as 5-6 years of age) to the temple Goddess. This meant that she would spend her entire life serving the temple and was not allowed to marry anyone else. Rich and powerful men in these communities abused the system and they began to force the young Devadasis to sleep with them.

Over the years, the Devadasis were reduced to being incorrectly termed 'temple prostitutes'. This merciless practice, though illegal and outlawed, still exists in certain small towns of India and its stigma continues to cling to the women who attempt an escape. Because of the social stigma around their roles, employment opportunities are denied to them. They are not even respected by their own family – and sometimes, their family members are responsible for selling them to a pimp to overcome a family crisis!
It is a vicious cycle where the children of Devadasis are drawn into this ruthless system too!

How does it work on the ground?

Milaap has partnered with MASS as their community partner. MASS is a reputed NGO that works to rehabilitate Devadasi women when they manage to escape from the system. They do this by forming Self Help Groups (groups of 5– 15) and training them in livelihood activities. Right now, the women are involved in a range of activities that include tailoring and buffalo rearing, mom n pop stores, basket weaving and fabric printing to name a few.
In order to carry on their business, they need a certain amount of money as start-up capital (raw materials, machinery etc). Milaap’s loans help them gain access to raw materials so that they are able to grow their businesses and gain stable income. Not only are they independent, they are able to ensure a good future for their children.

See how a Milaap loan has helped an ex-Devadasi escape the system:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k026QTnKlqQ

How you can help

Here’s how you can help:

1. Lend to this campaign.

a. Devadasi-led businesses will be supported through my campaign.
You’ll receive repayment updates every month, as your borrowers pay their installments.

2. Spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – please use the buttons on the right.

Questions?

Have more questions? Find your answers here: http://milaap.org/faq/topquestions

I hope you’ll lend through my campaign and help these women break free from being a Devadasi! Thank you so much for your support! Be Blessed!

Sincerely,
Ruth Paul

Who we are helping

Surekha Madar
Sharda Venktapur
Chitravva Gasti and Group

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$2,441
raised of $2,050 goal

21 Supporters

0 Days to go

Supporters (21)

A
Anonymous lent Rs.500
Rahul
Rahul lent $100
AP
Anusha lent $100
A
Anonymous lent $50

the cycle of devadasi system should end and these women should feel empowered to lead a normal, respectful and meaningful lives of their own

Neeraj
Neeraj lent $100
Kamal
Kamal lent $25