Saheli HIV/AIDS Karyakarta Sangh is a Public Charitable Trust which was registered in 1998 with the Charity Commissioner of Maharashtra under the Public Trusts Act and is headquartered at Budhwar Peth in Pune. We are the only Female Sex Workers (FSWs) Collective in Pune formed to bring women in sex work together to resolve their issues and ensure rights-based social inclusion. A community-based organization, Saheli Sangh has a very encouraging history of struggle, commitment, alliance building, and solidarity by the community, for the community, and of the community. Started with 9 community members, today the Trust has the strong support of 2,200 community members.
Saheli empowers the excluded and marginalized population by strengthening their capacity, agency, and leadership as well as solidarity, and collective actions. The leadership has more than 20 years of experience in community development and field interventions and partnerships in more than 12 districts in Maharashtra. Saheli Sangh works as a member of the National Network of Sex Workers (India) which has members across eight states in India.
Saheli Sangh is engaged rigorously with the community and is the only organization having access to all brothels in Pune’s red light area. Since its inception, we have followed democratic norms and practices for communication, participation, and representation. As a result, the organization is experiencing growth in the general body and collective membership. Due to relentless efforts by the community and the coalition, HIV prevalence has gone down remarkably among sex workers in the last decade. With a strong community-oriented approach, Saheli provided various relief measures to women in sex work and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.