Robin Chaurasiya – WOMAN of ACTION™

 

A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this powerful woman leader that is devoting her life to the empowerment of women through a mission of empowering the children from and victims of Human Trafficking Sex Trade.

Women empowerment is a global phenomenon that is reaching all areas of life and our world today. This amazing woman leader has risen above one of our world’s darkest experiences of terrorism and today is a world leader, working to save young women from the sex trafficking trade in Mumbai.

“I try to be diverse in what the kids want to read and learn about. I’ve found that at the end of the day, kids want to know about things connected to their lives. You have to impart education and give assignments in a way that really connect to their lives,” says Chaurasiya.

 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 
 

 
 

Robin Chaurasiya

 

Robin Chaurasiya, born in Los Angeles, moved to Mumbai and founded the NGO Kranti. Kranti is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that empowers girls from Mumbai’s red light areas to become agents of social change. Kranti believes that, when girls like us have access to the same education, training and opportunities as people from privileged backgrounds, we can become exceptional leaders.

Kranti empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light districts to become agents of social change. While we have an endless list of formal programs – education, therapy, extracurriculars, art, music, etc., the true transformation that happens at Kranti is about love and compassion. After years of growing up in a place where they’re not allowed to talk about their backgrounds, it’s a big change to be in a space that tells you to respect, love and embrace your community.

Robin has a master’s degree in gender studies and volunteered with an anti-trafficking NGO in Uganda before coming to Mumbai. This 30-year-old Chaurasiya who was born in Los Angeles and served with the US Air Force for several years, which she was forced to leave because of her sexuality. Robin joined the US military at the age of 16 but had to abruptly quit because of the military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy that discriminated against gays and lesbians. Chaurasiya was a “powerful lesbian” and created quite a riot that led to its repeal in 2011.

Robin share with The Hindu

“The strange thing about the policy was that it really was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. You’re allowed to be in the military if you are queer, but you are not supposed to ‘engage in homosexual conduct’. If you are lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/, nobody is supposed to ask and nobody should tell. And I have to say, I think this ‘hiding’ is much more psychologically damaging to people than it would be to have a ‘no queers allowed’ policy.

It is difficult for young people, of course, but the older you get and the higher you move up in the ranks, the more you have to lose… most people spend their careers hiding, sometimes being hunted down (at gay bars and other places) and then get kicked out.

Then, there was me, screaming at my commander, “Hello, I am lesbian!” and they wouldn’t kick me out.

Eventually, when I married, I became the first person in the history of the military to have been married to a person of the same sex and still be kept in the military. And when I was finally kicked out, I was the only Indian person kicked out under the DADT.”

 
Robin understands the affects of violence, as her own childhood was challenged. She shares “For both me and my sister, our dominant memories of ‘home’ and ‘childhood’ are of domestic violence and my mother’s battle with schizophrenia, made so much more difficult due to the violence. It was because of my mother’s illness that I decided to pursue psychology, and it’s probably also what has led me to recognise the importance of mental health for Kranti’s girls as opposed to education or life skills, on which most NGOs focus. Of course, there were my personal battles on top of my home situation — being a woman of colour in the U.S., as well as being queer and recognising it at a young age.”

Robin also holds credit that she helped organize a successful campaign to change US armed forces policy after being forced to leave her position as an Air Force officer because of her sexuality. The experience inspired her to go into teaching and to found an NGO in India called Kranti.

Kranti (‘Revolution’ in Hindi) empowers marginalized girls in Mumbai’s red light district to become agents of social change. Robin’s students, the Krantikaries (‘Revolutionaries’), are aged 12-20 and include victims of trafficking and daughters of sex workers. The school is truly diverse with different ages, literacy levels, languages, ethnicities, religions, castes and abilities. With Robin’s help, the Krantikaries develop into peer teachers and community leaders. VIDEO

The curriculum includes creative thinking, yoga, meditation, writing, geography and music and is supplemented by evening classes in English, ICT, theatre and health education. At weekends, the girls watch films, visit exhibitions and complete mandatory voluntary work for an NGO of their choice.

Robin has formalized a social justice curriculum at Kranti covering key issues that affect the girls’ lives which they use to design and implement projects. In 2013, they convinced an MP to help them register sex workers to vote. They have led workshops for more than 100,000 people and delivered 11 TEDx talks around the world. They toured a play they wrote about their experiences across the USA, performing at the headquarters of Facebook and Google.

Robin never imagined that one day she would move back to India from the US, where she grew up, to teach the girls of Kamatipura’s sex workers.

Robin was also amazed when Stephen Hawking might call her name out one day as the top ten finalists for the Global Teachers Prize.

The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

The prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.

“Where the world sees lost causes, I see revolutionary leaders.”

 
 
 

A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this powerhouse into our global alumni with open arms, looking forward to future collaborations, bettering the lives of all women and children, focusing on the freedom and empowerment of all women.

 
carnations
 

Brava Robin!

 

Speak Your Mind

*

Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care