Bringing new hope and life to trafficked and HIV-positive women and children
Dr. Shantanu Dutta, the Executive Director of Oasis India, is a medical doctor by training and began his career in the medical field with the Indian Air Force. He has been serving in the fields of community health and anti-human trafficking for more than 20 years and has served in middle and senior management positions in several organizations including World Vision, Viva Network, and Emmanuel Hospitals Association. Dr. Dutta joined Oasis India in April 2010.
Ministry Vision & Strategy
Oasis India was born in 1994 out of concern by Christian leaders in India for the destitute and marginalized of their cities. Oasis India is committed to working with local churches in the major urban cities of India to bring hope, restoration, and reintegration to victims of injustice and human trafficking. Their focus is on education, health care, life skills, counseling, community awareness, and church mobilization with the ultimate goal of lives restored into a relationship with God.
No Longer Starved for Love
When Sahil and Priya walked into Oasis India, all of their personal belongings were stuffed into one plastic bag. Their parents had died from HIV/AIDS a few months earlier. The two were left alone roaming the streets of Mumbai. Sahil was seven years old but appeared much younger due to malnutrition. Priya was nine and had never attended school. Neither of them had ever taken a bath, brushed their teeth, worn proper clothing, or had a sufficient diet.
But today, with lots of love, these two children have been rescued from the streets and put on a path toward a safe and healthy life.
Oasis India’s vision is not only to mobilize churches to care for children like Sahil and Priya, but also to fight the underlying causes of exploitation and mistreatment of children in India.
In pursuit of a better standard of living, Indians have migrated from rural villages to urban areas in unprecedented numbers. Far from their “roots,” the people of these communities are particularly vulnerable to some of the worst social evils in our world today including human trafficking, alcoholism, crime, prostitution and AIDS.
India has a massive problem with human trafficking. It is estimated that 1.2 million children are involved in prostitution and that as many as 100 million people (including bonded laborers) are involved in human trafficking as victims or perpetrators.
Globally, India ranks third in regard to HIV/AIDS prevalence. The major concentration of the disease is in six states of the country, which include the megacities of Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore. Mumbai alone has an estimated 500,000 prostitutes, many of whom were forced into the sex trade after being kidnapped or lured to the city with promises of legitimate work.
The impact of HIV/AIDS on women and children in India is particularly acute. Women are often economically, culturally and socially disadvantaged and lack equal access to treatment, financial support, and education.
Children of HIV-positive parents, whether positive or negative themselves, are often denied the right to go to school. In many instances when parents die of the illness, children are left behind to fend for themselves and their siblings, a role that they are not emotionally or mentally prepared for.
>ANTI-TRAFFICKING CAMPAINGS: $50 per participant in campaign, $125 per participant in empowerment workshop
Anti Trafficking Campaign, Oasis
In many urban areas of India, the residents are from rural parts of India who have come to the cities hoping to improve their lives. However, at the same time, the bonds of family and community have weakened, making these migrants extremely vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
To address this need, Oasis is launching a two-pronged project. The first part involves holding anti-trafficking campaigns in urban areas to educate communities on how trafficking happens, what their rights are under the law, how to protect children from abuse, as well as providing information on health and sexuality. Research shows that when communities understand the risks of trafficking and the tactics of perpetrators, fewer people are trafficked. Partners hopes to help fund Oasis’ efforts to hold anti-trafficking campaigns in six areas of Mumbai and Chennai.
The second part of the project involves holding empowerment workshops for 400-450 women and youth. At these workshops, Oasis will facilitate access to vocational skills training, encourage the completion of their education, and help them obtain certificates which will result in permanent employment.
To build on the program’s momentum, six to eight community leaders will be identified and trained to begin local groups who will address ongoing issues of health and safety within their neighborhoods.
>YOUTH MOBILIZATION PROGRAM: $375 per person per year
Youth Mobilization Program, Oasis
This year, Oasis is launching a new youth club program for teenage boys. Through this program, boys from slum areas will receive education assistance, vocational training, and social support. They will also be equipped as advocates against human trafficking by helping organize community programs alongside the government. Oasis is represented often at key government meetings and conferences that address human trafficking. By advocating for stronger laws against trafficking and harsher penalties for perpetrators, the system will grow in its ability to protect the rights of the people. The boys will also be working alongside the police to better inform them of trafficking schemes so that evidence is better documented and trafficking laws are propoerly applied. A total of 100-120 boys will take part.
>HOME CARE PROGRAM: $750 per person per year
Residential Rehabilitation, Oasis
Residential Rehabilitation, Oasis %20%28INOI40000%29" title="Give to this project">Help Now
Oasis India’s Home Care project grew out of lessons learned in their residential rehabilitation project over ten years’ time. Oasis’ leaders noticed that many of the individuals who were referred to them had a better chance of sustaining themselves if they were identified and supported at an early stage of their HIV infection. Also, when a woman has a safe and supportive living situation, it is much less costly to assist women and children at home rather than provide residential care.
Thus, this project aims to identify local churches that are in close proximity to people living with HIV/AIDS or at high risk of infection. Working together, Oasis and local churches assist families with access to treatment, subsidies for nutrition, education, and counseling/mentoring to help them cope and become self-sustaining.
This strategy allows individuals in need to build relationships with a local congregation and also keep their connection to their family. The effect of HIV has been the hardest on women and children, so the thrust of this effort is to engage churches and families of HIV/AIDS victims in the process of restoration, helping to combat vulnerability, marginalization, and
disempowerment. Gifts to this project will allow Oasis to reunite women with their families, provide medical treatment and counseling to 100 people, and facilitate access to healthcare, counseling, education, vocational training, and safe housing, and the Gospel to many others.