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  Snehalaya - Solapur

Cause: Snehalaya Solapur was formed to provide proper education and to ensure overall rehabilitation of children from the Red light areas. During 9 years of its existence, Snehalaya has proved itself as a home of love & affection for these children and has been making all out efforts to inculcate in them the moral values so that they grow up as responsible citizens of the society.

Profile: The source of inspiration for this project was Late Rupali, the daughter of Snehalaya President Shri. Pradeepkumar Shingavi. She was suffering from critical illness of Thalessamia. Due to her illness, she should not have survived beyond the age of 4 years; but her religious faith and strong humanitarian values helped her reach the age of 18 years. She used to celebrate her birthday in the school for the Blind & orphans in a very simple manner. She was very keen to work for the welfare of the handicapped and destitute children.

When her father (Pradeepji) asked about her last wish, she expressed, in no uncertain terms, her strong desire to help the most underprivileged children. Her strong and affectionate concern to help the underprivileged children till her last breath deeply moved and greatly inspired her father. Project Snehalaya was established on 1st January 1999 at Village Gursale near Pandharpur.

As these children come from a very difficult background, it was necessary that the overall in-charge of the project should be a very compassionate and mature person capable of maintaining proper discipline also. Fortunately, they found Brahmakumari Pramilaben, who after offering her services to the spiritual institution, Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, agreed to take the overall responsibility for the day to day running this institution. She is working as the Managing Secretary of Snehalaya and stays 24 hours at the Centre itself. She has played a very vital role in bringing up this institution by her total devotion and selfless service inculcating the spiritual and moral values amongst the residents of Snehalaya.

Initially a survey was carried out regarding women from the red light areas of south Maharashtra, especially areas of Solapur, Osmanabad, Latur, Barshi, Tembhurni and Pandharpur. These women were helped with their basic needs, such as water problems, House repairs and problems of getting their Ration cards etc. besides free medical checkup camps, AIDS awareness camps, etc. After such confidence building measures, 21 children were given admission to Snehalaya. Adequate arrangements were made for their food, shelter, clothing and education. Gradually by proper counseling and training, the development of these children showed excellent progress and they became quite social, friendly and cheerful and started participating in various in-house activities including sports, etc. enthusiastically.

After 4 years experience, it was felt that it will be much better for the future of these children if the project is to Solapur. which is a much bigger town. Pradeepji and his family readily provided the necessary land. On 5th June 2003 Snehalaya was shifted from Gursale, Pandharpur to Village Karamba (about 14 kms. from Solapur city). A well furnished building with all amenities was provided for accommodating about 120 children. This has now been extended to house nearly 180 children. Apart from good quality vegetarian food, Snehalay also runs a dairy farm named, Snehadhara Kapilanagari, with about 28 cows to provide proper nutrition & diet to these children, in the form of pure cow milk.

The reputation of Snehalay has spread far and wide and the women from red light areas are very keen to admit their children to Snehalay so that they can have a bright future. Due to this, there is now a waiting list of about 250 children. As and when funds are available, we keep on gradually expanding the accommodation and admit more children from time to time. This year, we have planned to accommodate 25 new children beneficiaries.

Snehalaya has received ISO 9001-2000 certification which is a remarkable achievement. As far as we know, Snehalaya is the only social institution to have recived such a certification.

Activities: Below is a partial list of activities through which Snehalaya Solapur is trying to make a difference,

  • Living facility for about 200 children
  • Free education up to 8th grade, mid day meal and transportation by school bus for about 700 students
  • 360 women have been rescued from the dungeons of Red Light Areas and have been rehabilitated
  • 40 AIDS affected women have been rehabilitated
  • 22 minor girls were freed from red light area with the help of police force
  • Creating job opportunities by forming Self Help Groups for needy women

Arpan's Participation:

  • Initial target is to provide steady stream of funds on monthly basis.
  • In the second phase adopt a center/s and/or children and provide ongoing support.
  • Arpan is, and will continue to be in touch with Snehalaya and finalize the details of the second phase.
  • Encourage all the contributors of ARPAN to visit any facility in India. The trip can be planned in advance from USA.

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