“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
When we hear the word krantikari(Revolutionary), we go back in time, to the pre independence era and names like Bhagat Singh and Chandra Shekhar Azad come to our minds. But we don’t have to go that far. In this dog-eat-dog world, everybody is part of a revolution, breaking the shackels that lock our spirit and keep us bound in mediocrity. Former Lieutenant Robin Chaurasiya, is one such revolutionary, who was expelled from the U.S. Air Force after she declared that she is lesbian. She then helped organise a successful campaign to change US armed forces policy, after which she returned to India and started an NGO ‘Kranti’, a Mumbai-based NGO that empowers marginalized girls from the red-light areas, aged 12-20, to become agents of social change.
The girls in Kranti, the krantikaris, are either the victims of trafficking or the daughters of sex workers, who never thought that their daughters would be able to live a dignified life in a conservative society like India. Most of the mothers support Robin’s kranti and the ones who are problematic have mental health or drug/alcohol addiction problems. We also work to get the mothers into therapy and mental health programmes, says Robin.
Your background should always be your strength and not your weakness. – Kranti
The school is diverse with different ages, literacy levels, languages, ethnicities, religions, castes and abilities. The curriculum includes creative thinking, writing, yoga, meditation, geography and music along with the classes in English, theatre and health education. During the weekends, the girls watch films, visit exhibitions and volunteer for an NGO of their choice.
They have conducted workshops for more than 100,000 people and delivered several TEDx talks around the world. They staged a play they wrote about their experiences across the USA, performing at the headquarters of Google and Facebook. They were among the top 10 finalists selected for the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize in which, 8,000 applicants from 140 countries were nominated.
Where the world sees lost causes, I see revolutionary leaders, says Robin. She is working on facilitating the improvement and advancement of her students, elevating their faith and trying to create leaders out of them, which makes her a revolutionary in the truest sense of the word.