AVANI Women & Child Rights2024-05-17T00:55:43-06:00

AVANI Women & Child Rights • India

India is home to the largest number of child laborers in the world.

Anuradha, founder of AVANI, is a former child laborer herself and has spent decades fighting for the protection and promotion of women and child rights. Anuradha is now a well-known advocate and force for social change in in the Kolhapur district, Maharashtra, India where AVANI is based. AVANI is a prime example of how grassroots, community-centric work can solve some of India’s toughest problems, including child labor, child trafficking and female infanticide. AVANI’s primary focus is on high-risk industries like brickyard and sugarcane factories where migrant and child laborers are employed. Through courageous action and advocacy the AVANI team has been highly successful in motivating families and the brickyard owners to stop sending children to work, having now reduced child labor in the region’s brickyards by 95%.


AVANI has developed many programs to protect the rights of women and children in the Maharashtra region, including the following:

  • Rescuing Child Laborers: AVANI works closely with local government and law enforcement agencies to coordinate the rescue of children from brickyard labor camps, agricultural farms, waste picking and construction sites, domestic work, forced begging, and even sex work. Once the child has been rescued, AVANI provides support and refers them to the appropriate rehabilitation and aftercare services.
  • A Home for Rescued Child Laborers: AVANI runs a shelter for former child laborers where skilled social workers evaluate the well-being of each child emotionally, nutritionally, behaviorally, socially, and academically, and work to promote psychological and emotional healing. Children are often the first of their families to receive formal education, which keeps them from dangerous employment and breaks the cycle of child labor.
  • Providing Day Care Centers: Another issue AVANI works to solve is the high rate of infant mortality due to unhealthy living conditions in and around labor camps. AVANI has created special day care centers specifically for these communities which provide education for children and parents, working to keep children safe and prevent them from becoming child laborers.
  • Life Skills Education: AVANI defines life skills as a range of psychosocial and cognitive abilities that equip children to make informed decisions, manage their emotional well-being, and communicate effectively. AVANI views life skills education as equally important to basic literacy education, and promotes this in local schools where they are now running classes on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

These are just a few of the many programs and projects that the AVANI team have developed. As a relatively small organization, their model of collaboration with the state has maximized their impact and resulted in the government adopting and funding many of their programs.


GoPhilanthropic Foundation was first introduced to AVANI’s work in 2009, during a trip with Dr. Arun Gandhi to learn about the plight of migrant communities and the vicious cycles that emerge from bonded labor. Since then, the GoPhil community has contributed to the enhancement and expansion of AVANI programs by:

  • Funding child rescue missions and sponsoring post-rescue education and rehabilitation;
  • Providing support to hire key staff needed to launch and expand new projects and programs;
  • Contributing to the set up of day care and education centers in the brickyards;
  • Supporting the establishment of an innovative new waste management program designed to create green business opportunities for waste pickers with the help of local and state government, providing opportunities for women to become self-reliant and leading them towards economic empowerment;
  • Providing training and capacity building on monitoring and evaluation of their program outcomes.

VIDEO: Women’s Rights

VIDEO: AVANI Brickyards


Anuradha is a highly passionate and charismatic leader, drawing on her own story of survival to rally communities and create tidal waves of change.

Through the power of policy analysis, advocacy and bold action, AVANI leverages the success of their programs to achieve lasting results for children in Kolhapur, India. They mobilize grassroots support, hold the local government accountable, advance policy change and secure financial investments that benefit thousands of the region’s most vulnerable children.

AVANI’s commitment to collaboration with the local government is highly effective; many of their innovative pilot programs have since been adopted and funded by the state, ensuring long-term sustainability and far-reaching impact.

If you are interested in supporting AVANI, please email us at [email protected]


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