02 August, 2021

Goa's beaches and slums are the better for Jan Ugahi's work

Goa's beaches and slums are the better for Jan Ugahi's work
It’s a fairy tale success story. Gosby used to be a mendicant, of the Sakir begging community. Members of the group do the rounds of the shops, especially during the month-long Ramzan festival, and are considered to be a nuisance by the general public. Gosby, at the tender age of nine, was just another frail, dishevelled beggar-girl. Then, Jan Ugahi happened in her life.

After six years, the transformation is unbelievable. Gosby, now 16, speaks fluent English, has just passed her Xth Class through the National Open School (NOS) and is now a trainer-teacher, handling the literacy programme at Jan Ugahi. Today, she is confidence personified, determined to change the lives of the many unfortunate children like her.

Jan Ugahi, a public charitable trust, was started by Greg and Bernie D’Souza, a couple from Margao, Goa, in January 1995 with the sole purpose of bringing some sense of dignity to the lives of the shanty dwellers. As Bernie puts it, "They’re a most exploited lot. Margao, the commercial capital, has got it bad, with the mushrooming number of slums." Jan...

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