Prabhat Tara Sanstha (Bright Morning Star)
This is a project based the Sangli District in the Maratha state of India. One of the aims of the project aims to provide skills and education to sex workers in Sangli and Miraj in order to move on to other employment. The project also offers pre and after school classes for their children. As many of these women contract HIV the project runs a home (House of Hope) for orphans and the children of sex workers. The project also provides a safe house for those workers with illnesses caused by HIV that have been abandoned. The project also has skills training in the nearby leper colony. In addition the project works closely with the large Wannless Christian Hospital based nearby to provide free medical help to older vulnerable people especially cataract operations.
The children of sex workers would often have no choice but to follow in the life style of their parents and are vulnerable to being influenced by the people with whom their families have contact. The House of Hope (Girls) and the Boys Home provides safe accommodation. Children in India have to pay for school and the project ensures the children attend the local school and provides uniforms and books. As well as ensuring a general education, the House of Hope teaches the children new skills such as sewing, and encourages them to aim for a higher education e.g. university. Empowering the children with such skills and learning, helps to reduce the number who may end up working in the sex trade from early adult life.
The Jade McMahon Memorial Hospice
As many of the children who are helped by the project live with, HIV, a separate building has been built and is used as a hospice. On completion of the building, in 2012, Rev Timothy asked if the hospice could be named after Positive Steps.
In July that same year, a member of Positive Step’s staff, a young woman called Jade McMahon had died suddenly. Jade was only 26 years old and during her time with Positive Steps, had earned the respect and friendship of all the staff. She was dedicated to helping others in her working life and was always happy and full of energy. She is greatly missed by her family, friends and work colleagues. It was suggested that the hospice be named after her and with her family’s permission, this was done. The hospice was officially opened by Mr Derek Sharkey the CEO of Positive Steps in October 2012 and since then was helped over 60 children.
In addition to the funding given by Positive Steps for the Prabhat Tara Sanstha project, dedicated fund raising by Jade’s family and Positive Steps has been carried out in her name. All the funds raised in this way are spent directly on The Jade Memorial Hospice.