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Dignity centre is a place to meet comprehensive needs and address structural issues of adolescent girls. Three Dignity Centres have been established in Mandsaurdistrict, which have been acting as guiding light to the adolescent girls from marginalized communities. The girls from these communities are usually kept away from education system and married off at an early age. This condition, a multitude of problems, is a result of the centuries old caste system and the gender inequality that exists within the system. The dignity centres, aimed at the empowerment of such girls, are filling the gap created by the absence of governance and social justice. Dignity centres function in a way that they go beyond assistance in formal education by also providing the much-needed knowledge and support in claiming the constitutional rights, thus being socially conscious. Dignity centre is easily accessible to the girls since it is located in their
own locality and motivator (prerak) belongs to same community. It gives girls more freedom there than their home since these centres are explicitly for girls, so they don’t hesitate in sharing any issues concerning to them. Motivator (prerak) mentors the girls on various aspects related to adolescence including social (caste, gender etc), physical (health, hygiene, sexual education etc) and psychological (issues of identity, confidence, peer pressure etc) domains. Prerak conducts daily sessions in the dignity centres comprising wide range of modules on constitutional rights, life skills, health, education etc. Dignity centres have emerged as a source of holistic development of girls in all program sites.
The socially deprived groups face numerous challenges and endure stigma due to engagement in indecent and inhuman livelihood practices such as manual scavenging and prostitution. Traditionally, Indian society has compelled specific caste communities to perform demeaning duties and tasks likewise Bedia and Banchhara community in Neemuch and Mandsaur districts are forced into generational caste based sex work. The girls from these community are kept away from education and are into caste based sex work at a very early age.
Udan here aims at educating the girls with the help of dignity center to have access to formal education system, awareness on the constitutional rights and thus being empowered. Udan tries to connect the women who are into sex work with various livelihood and social security benefit options so that the women are empowered and are able to choose their course of life. Also, the sex workersare connected to pension programmes to have alternative source of income.