AAWC seeks volunteers who are passionate about ending all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), including sex trafficking. Previous experience working with women and children, in the Global South, or with marginalised populations is not required, but volunteers must be able to demonstrate an informed and committed interest in the field. In addition, volunteers must be prepared to maintain empathy and open-mindedness for the complex intersection of circumstances that bring a woman into prostitution and to treat all individuals with respect and dignity, not condescension or pity.
AAWC has a variety of projects in which volunteers can provide assistance. Volunteers are also welcome to propose their own workshops, lessons, events, and other projects for AAWC beneficiary members. They can take sessions on Capacity Building, Advanced Computer Literacy, etc with the staff of AAWC. Knowledge of Hindi is required.
To apply as a volunteer, please submit an application (xls) along with your CV (résumé) and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. For international volunteers: please download our Manual for International Interns and Volunteers (pdf) to learn more about what it would be like to volunteer with AAWC in India. Applications must be submitted at least 3 months in advance of your intended start date. Volunteers must apply for a minimum period of 3 months.
If you would like to volunteer with AAWC but cannot commit to a minimum period of three months, you can also contact email@example.com to learn about fundraising opportunities.
Current Openings – for Professionals
Mentor: If you are interested in being a long-term mentor to one of our adolescent girls, please contact our mentorship partner The Lighthouse and mention your interest in being paired with an AAWC girl member.
Career workshop/excursion: If you would like to organize a structured and engaging career workshop or excursion, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time (Saturday afternoons only).Current Openings – for All Volunteers
Tutoring: We require tutors (all subjects) for girls in 10th standard. Also, if you would like to provide tutoring in Marathi (all subjects) during Monday - Friday 6:00-7:30pm, please submit an application (xls) with your CV (résumé) and cover letter to email@example.com.
Jill Sinnott Volunteer from the UK I have had a really great experience volunteering at the AAWC. The centre is filled with positive energy and clearly makes a big difference to those on all three of its programs. I have particularly loved the trips to the gardens with the toddlers and doing activities with them at the centre. I have also enjoyed helping with some tasks in the office. Thanks for having me, and I hope to pop back again soon!
Aishwarya Menon Volunteer from Kerala “Thank you AAWC for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be a part of a powerful change you are bringing about, with your work!! Your patience, resilience, hardwork and compassion is hugely inspiring, and it helps me hold my head high amongst cynics who only wish to notice the turmoil this world is in. Keep up the good work. Your intent is so genuine that I assure you, the universe has your back, no matter what lies ahead. I wish you all the very best!
Kimberly Nielsen Volunteer from Canada In a place filled with prostitution, extreme hardship and terrible violence against woman, one would hardly expect to find an abundance of love in Kamathipura. But from the moment I met the children and young girls of the AAWC’s Udaan and Umang program, I recognized a bright spirit of love and hope in their eyes. For children who grew up with very little in worldly possessions, they were full of smiles, laughter and creativity. My shift started in the afternoon, to work with the girls when they came from school, but many times I would sneak in early to watch the Umang toddlers sleep and play. To know that these little children had a safe place to play, with toys and books, instead of the street and garbage assured me that these children would have hope for a safer, cleaner future. Here they would have meals, adults who watched for their safety and other children to socialize with. When school let out in the afternoon, and the Udaan girls showed arrived at the centre, I saw a mixture of young women and young girls, each with her own goals and dreams for the future. The importance of school and tuition lessons, along with the life skills they learned at the AAWC will become the foundations from which these dreams can come true. It was an honor to be a part of their lives and to be their “teacher didi” for this time and I return to Canada with memories in my heart and tears in my eyes, but with the knowledge that these girls will have a chance at a real life and a chance to escape the second generation of prostitution that might have occurred.
Mallorie Bronfman-Thomas Volunteer from Canada I am truly blessed to have volunteered at Apne Aap Women's Collective. Everyone there has changed my life more than I could ever give back; and for that I thank you. The kids, mothers, other volunteers and those who work at the organization are inspiring, and that compels me to pursue more work like this in the future. I was not there for long, but was accepted into the community like family. I will miss all of you dearly.
Rajiv Gihwala Volunteer from South Africa via Atma My experience at AAWC was very uplifting and eye-opening. Seeing everybody work so hard in what they believed in made me understand what it means to be devoted and passionate about one’s work. My favourite part of my day was interacting and playing with the children. To see them smile and be happy even though their home life was difficult made me realise how lucky and privileged I was growing up and they all stole my heart. AAWC will always be with me.
Heather Whelen Volunteer from Canada Although I was only in Mumbai for one month, the time I spent volunteering with AAWC was beyond memorable. Without exception, all of the staff made me feel very welcome, and I was very impressed by each and every one of the beneficiaries I met. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing organisation. I put my complete trust in everyone involved with AAWC and would gladly recommend this organisation to anyone. I look forward to hopefully coming back in the future. Thank you all!
Meher Patel Volunteer from United Kingdom The two months I volunteered at AAWC have changed my life. Without exception, each and every member of staff has an inner fire that burns to help and support the women and children of the red light area. I came to AAWC during the vacation between my second and final years of my undergraduate degree to gain experience in the field of women’s rights. In this day and age, one has countless concerns and fears; however, as soon as I walked into the centre and heard an excited chorus of “namaste, teacher” from the Umangs I felt all my fears and concerns evaporate. For the short time I have worked at the AAWC, I have been privileged to work with Umang, Udaan and Umeed on a variety of projects, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that everyone who comes in contact with AAWC—the children, women or even volunteers and staff members—is affected for the better. A staff member once commented that once you come to AAWC, you never want to leave and I am finding that painfully true. I wish I could rewind and start all over again.
Volunteer from Australia
My first days with the outreach workers were a mixture of intense horror at the living conditions and vulnerability of these women and children, coupled with amazement at the apparent ease with which the outreach workers navigated the brothels. Throughout my stay I was continually impressed with the respectful relationship nurtured between the outreach workers and members of AAWC’s programs. Given the backdrop of India’s conservative values regarding women, especially in the commercial sex industry, it was refreshing to see the women and girls treated as equals.
Many times I was surprised and disheartened by society’s disregard and distrust of women working in the sex industry. Fueled by a lack of understanding, people generally blamed these women, despite that the vast majority entered the industry against their will. It was wonderful to see the women smile and laugh, given a voice, and lifted for a few moments from a desperate existence fighting not only the difficulties of harsh living conditions and work but also society’s constant judgment and discrimination.
The resilience of children when provided with a safe environment in which to thrive also struck me initially and continued to impress me. The temptation for pity on seeing the children’s homes and learning their stories was contrasted against bright, eager faces. In general the children were curious and confident. And there seemed to be an amazing ability, with support from AAWC, to create a future from something that initially appeared extremely bleak. This is not to paint a rosy glow, however, as the lives of these children remain far more precarious than any child should have to deal with, and I continue to fear for the few girls who may inevitably slip through the cracks.
The vastness of the health issues, particularly those related to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, also overwhelmed me during my stay. Coming from a health background, I sometimes worried that opportunities were not always taken to promote health or encourage less-risky behavior—perhaps in an attempt to remain culturally sensitive and nonjudgmental. I imagine this will continue to be a difficult balance to maintain and am quite aware that not alienating the women is vitally important for maintaining a beneficial and trusting relationship. Ongoing training of AAWC staff to enable easier health discussions with women and children may be one way to try to get around this. Educating the women, either through one-on-one conversations or during the social gatherings, could hopefully lead to a better ability to make health decisions for both themselves and their children. And by educating the children, hopefully some benefit may filter back up to the mothers and across to other children.
Overall my experience at AAWC was an extremely rewarding one. I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems on many occasions but always felt well-supported, cared for, and safe. And the many moments of joy, both large and small, balanced the intensity of each day. Gaining trust and recruiting members is obviously a slow and intensive process, especially when taking into account the limited staff and resources stretched over the many different things that AAWC is working so hard to achieve. Now having some insight into the environment that they come from, I don’t think seeing those children given the opportunity to laugh in such a carefree manner would ever lose its magic. I only hope that I have been able to give something small back in return.
Nishtha Modi Volunteer from the United States I was born and brought up in the chawls of Mumbai and in my early teens my family and I moved to the U.S. My interest in healthcare has taken me to places like Uganda, Kenya, and Haiti as a volunteer. However, after coming to India for several years I realized I knew very little about a major issue facing the country—prostitution and child trafficking. To learn more, I decided to start volunteering at AAWC, where I taught English speaking, nutrition, personal hygiene and menstruation sessions to the Udaan girls and organized a career guidance workshop. Even though I just spent six weeks volunteering at AAWC, I felt an attachment with the kids and staff. I really hope that one day I can come back to AAWC as a doctor and try to help more!