It was in 2011, when Deepali Vandana and Altaf Shaikh recognised the need of a holistic programme for homeless young women. They understood the dearth of facilities and aid for young homeless women in India since no one wanted to shoulder the responsibility of adolescents. Despite the presence of institutions for children’s rehabilitation, young homeless women continued to find themselves on the streets. Altaf and Deepali’s urgency to act was in line with those of Aditi Naik and Rizwana Nullwala who joined them as co-founders. The Trust came into existence and was registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.
The widespread patriarchy in the nation exists in a parasitic relation with the caste system, economic disparities and the religious sector to create a loop of discrimination and violence. In this context, the cause for which Urja fights becomes very relevant: the empowerment of young homeless women.
In 2012, Urja opened its first centre at Dadar, Mumbai. The small team worked together with an indomitable spirit to fight for the rights and rehabilitation of young women who find themselves homeless. The programme evolved, aligning itself to the dynamic needs of the young homeless women to create the desired impact. In due course, the outreach programme was initiated whereby the team regularly surveyed railway stations to identity and approach vulnerable women. This allowed Urja to build a very strong network of stakeholders (police, railway officials, lawyers) at these places.
Six years and many milestones later, a devout team coupled with dynamic policies has ensured that Urja continues to encourage young women who are temporarily caught in a stage of homelessness and fragility to rise like the phoenix.
A safe, equitable and compassionate society where youths can pursue their lives with freedom and dignity. These young women come from homes and or communities where they are treated as secondary citizens, neglected and abused. They come in state of shock and uncertain about life and begin their journey of regaining their strength at Urja. Our holistic development programme is planned keeping in mind its positive impact on the women for them to be able to lead independent lives with dignity
To act as a catalyst for homeless young women by supporting their basic needs and building an exemplary, replicable model that provides opportunities for their economic, psychological, emotional, civil and social development. The essence lies in advancing a holistic development for the women and their right to a life full of freedom, dignity and personal choices.