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Thread: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

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    Moderator BigBoyMayan's Avatar
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    Post The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    For any gay guy, the Humsafar Trust does not require any introductions. It is the first NGO in India started to serve the needs of the gay community.

    More details from their website

    The Humsafar Trust was set up in April 1994 by the leading gay activist Ashok Row Kavi along with two more self-identified homosexual men who desired to reach out to the gay population in the Mumbai Metro and surrounding areas. After much networking and advocacy with the Mumbai Municipal Corporation for over a year and a half it became the first openly Gay Community Based Organization to be allotted space in a Municipal building at Vakola, Santacruz (East) Mumbai in October 1995.

    The Drop In Centre and Counseling services

    The Trust began its activities by inviting gay men and lesbian women to attend its workshops on Fridays at its drop in centre in Santacruz. The Friday workshops addressed various issues like coming out to self and family, dealing with relationships, dealing with legal issues of gay men, tackling problems with cheaters and hustlers, health and human rights related issues. A team of 6 self identified homosexual men were trained to be street counselors responding to the needs of gay men calling the voice mail helpline service set up by the trust .The drop in centre saw various workshops on issues of HIV/AIDS and soon it became evident that the trust will have to work aggressively on the health of the community.

    The Start Up of Programs

    In 1998 the Humsafar Trust (HST) had its first grant from the Directorate of Health Services in Mumbai to do a sex mapping study in Mumbai. The small grant of Rs.57,000/- was utilized to mobilize community members from all over the city and sex mapping of over 100 sites was completed in less than six months.

    In January 1999, the HST started its sensitization program with various public hospitals in Mumbai. The first positive results came when Dr. Hema Jairajani of LTMG Sion Hospital agreed to examine MSM clients in their hospital OPD. She also sent her resident doctors to HST to get them sensitized on MSM issues. The doctors from LTMG began their friendly visits to the HST centre and very soon it was agreed that HST would set up its own in-house VCCTC .

    A lot of support was garnered from various quarters and with unflinching support of LTMG hospital, MDACS and Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) helped start the VCTC on 26th June 1999. The Humsafar Trust is now managing over 2,500 MSM and TGs accessing quality services every year from its clinic. The clinic has been described as a model clinic following all international norms of quality services by FHI.

    Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) awarded the first pilot project to 'Motivate Safer Sex among MSM at Selected Sites in Mumbai Metro' in April 1999 over a three-year period. (Project Aarambh now in its 7th year)

    The Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) increased the scope of the project in April 2000. However, as the numbers of sites kept increasing over a period of time, it was considered essential that HST upscale the project and seek financial aid from other sources too. In February 2001, USAID / FHI under its Impact program up scaled the project for a period of 18 months. (Project Yaarana now its 6th year)

    In April 2002 MDACS initiated a project with TG / Kothi sex workers around five truck stops in Mumbai. (Project Shaan is currently in its fourth year of intervention)

    In April 2002 the Humsafar Trust also initiated a project to work with Hijra community in Malavani, Mumbai which houses close to 2,000 hijra's. This initiative of Humsafar trust is being managed by a TG group Sakhi Char Chowghi.

    In April 2002 Goa State AIDS Control Society helped initiate a MSM project on five select sites in Goa. In April 2005 the scope of the project has been increased to 10 sites in Goa State.(Project Sahara in South Goa - Vasco now in 5th year ) In April 2006 a new project has been set up in North Goa - Panaji. (Project Sahara : just initiated )

    In April 2005, The Avert Society -MSACS with funding from USAID started a MSM project with The Humsafar Trust in the Thane region of Maharashtra state (Project Josh now in its 2nd year)

    In June 2005, FHI and FPAI collaboration with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation set up a project with male sex workers on 18 hotspots in Mumbai. (Project Gaurav now in its 2nd year)

    2006 : New Initiatives of The Humsafar Trust

    A model clinic to provide STI treatment, HIV testing facility and referrals for HIV treatment is set up in Kalyan (Thane District). This project is being funded by HIVOS/EU/SIAAP.

    A project to provide capacity building to 25 MSM and TG organizations from all over India and develop a national advocacy strategy for MSM and TGs and help develop a strategy for NACO ( National AIDS Control Organization ) to start up and upscale projects with MSM and TG community. This year long project is funded by DFID-PMO.

    A research project to study and describe the social and sexual networks of MSM and TGs in India. This study is being carried out in 5 states and 8 cities and presented to government of India.

    A research project to study the dynamics of MSM in Maharashtra State. The study is being carried out in two cities and is supported by USAID-Avert Society.

    A research project in collaboration with University of California and San Francisco to look into the risk and perceptions of Men in Sex Work. The study is being supported by NIH.

    A research project in collaboration with Fenway Community Health (Boston) to study the mental health issues of MSM in Mumbai Metro.

    All research projects of The Humsafar Trust have the approval of the IRB.

    The USAID-FHI supported project IMPACT-YAARANA came to an end on 30th September 2006 as the term of IMPACT ended. However the project was taken over by USAID-Avert from 1st October 2006.

    For more details please visit their website: http://www.humsafar.org

  2. #2
    Moderator Vivat's Avatar
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    Re: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    A wonderful read! Thank you for sharing, Mayan:-)

    Pardon me if I am wrong, but I guess, Mr. Ravi was the one who challenged section 377 of IPC or was it a Delhi based NGO?

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    Moderator BigBoyMayan's Avatar
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    Re: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    I think you mean Mr. Ashok Kavi?

    I'm not sure whether he was directly involved in the case but yes the petition was filed by the Naz Foundation led by activist Anjali Gopalan. The case was fought by Lawyer's Collective, led by Anand Grover and had the support of another group called Voices Against 377.

    I will post more detail about the case in another thread.
    Mayan
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    My Blog: Gay In Bombay

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    Moderator Vivat's Avatar
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    Re: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    I am sorry. I meant Mr. Ashok Kavi, indeed.

    Oh yes, it was Naz foundation. How can I forget that?

    Thank you for clarifying and I hope to read more about the battle that led to 1st landmark judgement. Thank you

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    Re: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    Correct, its Naz Foundation...Delhi...

    Ashok Rao has nothing to do with that case.

    Lot of work had been done by many persons @ Humsafar Trust...Ashok being openly out....often is given all the credit.

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    Moderator BigBoyMayan's Avatar
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    Re: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    Sopan, where have you seen Ashok Kavi taking credit where it was not due? I have never seen anyone attributing the success for the Sec 377 case to him and I haven't seen him claiming so.

    But the role he played indirectly is by no means small. We must not forget that he is indeed the father of the Gay Movement in India and without his pioneering role the steps that lead to the Sec 377 victory may have taken a long time.
    Mayan
    GIF Admin
    My Blog: Gay In Bombay

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    Moderator BigBoyMayan's Avatar
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    Re: The Humsafar Trust - The Pioneer Gay NGO

    I just received this message from Bombay Dost (a section of Humsafar Trust). I thought it would be appropriate to post it here.

    YOUR HEALTH IS PRECIOUS!!

    We hope you have a great time and find what you are looking for. Whether one seeks sex , friendships or relationships, it is important to know that we take care of our health and practice safe sex.

    Please note that the HIV prevalence rate in Mumbai amongst MSM/Gay men is 7.8%, i.e 8 in 100 gay men are likely to be HIV positive. We urge you to have penetrative sex OR oral sex with a condom and practice safe sexual practices. A part of this activity also means regular HIV testing and regular medical check ups. You may access free condoms, HIV testing and Regular medical check ups at The Humsafar Trust.

    Apart from HIV testing The Humsafar Trust provides you the following services

    1. Psycho Social Counseling
    2. Legal Counsel
    3. Nutrition Counseling
    4. Regular medical Check up

    You may visit our centre at the below address

    The Humsafar Trust, 3rd Floor , Manthan Plaza , Nehru Road , Vakola, Mumbai -400055, Near Vakola Masjid
    Phone Nos: +91 22 26673800; +91 22 26650547

    (Note: The Humsafar Trust follows strict confidentiality norms of testing and counseling, your real name/profile id is not noted during testing. Pre test and post test counseling is mandatory as per NACO rules and regulations.)
    Mayan
    GIF Admin
    My Blog: Gay In Bombay

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