There are 15 girls who study at Kranti, an educational NGO in Mumbai, all of them between the ages of 12 and 20. Like typical teenagers, they adore music and dance, complain about their studies, and can’t wait to whisper about their crushes. If you didn’t know better, you’d never guess these chatty teens are the daughters of sex workers in Kamathipura, Mumbai’s largest red-light district.
But spend a little time with them and their mentor, Los Angeles-born Indian-American Robin Chaurasiya, and you’ll uncover a few details about who they were in their “past lives,” when they faced repeated verbal and sexual abuse. Chaurasiya founded Kranti—which is the Hindi word for “revolution”—in the winter of 2010 to empower underserved young girls through education. She has always had big dreams for these girls, certain that if they were given the same opportunities and educational tools as their more privileged counterparts, they would grow up to become leaders.