Kaarya’s Areas of Focus

Financial Inclusion & Livelihoods

Resilience building and survivor empowerment

Kaarya is an Economic Empowerment & Financial Inclusion Programme for Survivors of Trafficking and Sex Workers that aims to build agency, financial security, and independence. It focuses on building and strengthening market-relevant sustainable livelihoods, improving survivors’ personal and business finance management, and building survivors’ leadership to demand livelihood-related rights & entitlements. The programme works with and enables community-based organisations at the grassroots to enable survivors to plan, design and implement micro-businesses while building their social and financial security. Research by the Jadavpur University, Kolkata, the UHI Centre for Rural Children with support from the OAK Foundation, has identified the programme as a ‘good practice’.

Some of the key elements of the Kaarya are:

  1. Financial Inclusion
  2. Access to Rights & Entitlements
  3. Leadership Building to Claim Rights & Entitlements
  4. Collectivization
  5. Sustainable Livelihoods

Why is Kaarya relevant?

When the survivors are returned to their families, integrating into mainstream society becomes a mammoth task for them, with many carrying the burden of stigma, shame, lack of employment opportunities, poverty, sexual harassment and self-alienation (low self-esteem, guilt). They suffer from poverty, stemming from the absence of livelihoods, lack of alternative sources of income, low levels of education and skills, and lack of access to loans to formal credit as individuals. In the shelter homes where survivors remain for years, they receive generic training for services that do not cater to their interests, skills or aspirations. Furthermore, a lack of reintegration policy beyond that of family reunification, an absence of strategy for economic empowerment, and an assumption that the survivors will integrate into the general mainstream, worsens the plight of these survivors. Those who dream of setting up a business or creating a source of livelihood, often face stigma from various societal groups such as the administration, financial institutions, and their communities. Market linkages and product sales become challenging for these survivors.
Thus, in the absence of sustainable livelihoods and economic opportunities, survivors’ reintegration into communities remains a perennial question.

How does Kaarya help?

Kaarya works through a rights-based approach wherein Sanjog works with Survivor Leaders and grassroots organisations to build their leadership to claim livelihoods and financial inclusion-related rights and services through collectivisation. The program aims to build sustainable livelihoods in the community that are market-relevant and market-driven, ensuring a steady flow of income. This leads to financial independence, agency and better decision-making power at the household and community level. This benefits survivors and leads them to

– Claim their right to access all financial services available to all citizens, via a rights-based approach for financial inclusion

– Build collective strength by forming self-help groups (SHPs) to avail formal credit and livelihoods-related schemes and services

– Build capacity and training workshops on market-relevant and sector-specific skills

– Build capacity in business planning, business management and marketing

– Get trained on financial literacy and inculcate healthy financial habits

– Build leadership of survivor leaders to enable them to lead micro-businesses, help other community members collectivise and access schemes and services

– Build market linkages for business promotion and sales

– Benefit from long-term handholding and mentorship



By Team Sanjog
Nov 29, 2023

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