A refuge for homeless young women in Mumbai

Gender Equality Livelihoods






Gender Equality



Mumbai, Maharashtra


COVID-19 Update

The shelter activities continued through lockdown online and through phone counselling and check-ins by the staff. 2 people were hired to stay in the shelter 24/7 during the lockdown to look after the women and girls who were resident there.

Urja has also assisted 60 alumni girls who had been completely independent but, due to the crisis, had lost their sources of income. Urja has been paying their rent and providing them with groceries, hygiene kits and recharging their phones while trying to help them to get back into work.  

What are the challenges?

Every year, thousands of girls run away from home to escape forced labour, forced marriage, violence and denial to education. Desperate and alone, they travel to Mumbai in the hope of a better life in the city. Highly organised traffickers prey on these girls as they arrive at the Dadar train station, one of Mumbai’s largest - it is estimated that there is a mere 8 second window between arrival and being approached by a trafficker for these girls.

What is the aim of the project?

The project funds specialist workers to identify and intercept homeless young women who arrive at Dadar train station in Mumbai before they can be targeted by traffickers. They are taken to a shelter, receiving practical and psychological support, as well as vocational training and the opportunity to enroll in education courses to prepare them to move towards financial independence and a more stable future.

What are the main activities?

  • Intercepting and identifying homeless young women as they arrive and engaging them in the project activities in order to protect them from traffickers
  • Providing safe housing and practical support via a shelter or group homes
  • Providing education and/or vocational training to young women and subsequent support with finding employment
  • Increasing advocacy and sensitisation among government bodies to the issue of homeless young women and their legal and civil rights