The main goal of the association is to help children in need, namely in India, by financing night care centres in the red- light district of Kamathipura in Mumbai (Bombay) and to assist the children until they are able to look after themselves.
Asskam, the Association Kamathipura, was founded in Lausanne in December 1995 to stop the night care centre in the red-light area of Kamathipura from being closed due to lack of funds.
Since then, two other night care centres have been opened in Falkland Road and Vashi (a truck terminus).
This neighbourhood is comprised of a series of squalid lanes, small, run-down houses, often devoid of running water, in which people live in total promiscuity. This is where teenage girls and women who have been forced into prostitution live and work. They have either been sold into prostitution by a close relative, or have been lured to the city by pimps who promise them a job as a domestic servant. Poverty is such that parents are often happy to have one less mouth to feed but are not aware of the dangers that await their daughters. Once in the city, the young women are locked up, beaten, raped and deprived of food; they are subjected to the most awful abuse until they come to accept their lot.
Priti Patkar, a social worker, opened the first night care centre in Kamathipura in 1988. It takes in about 100 children and helps the women in their administrative and medical procedures. More than ten thousand children have been recorded up to now.
On 5th March1998, the Cantonal Tax Adminstration recognized the association to be of public use and exempt from tax.
Janet Morier-Genoud, President
Francine Kandaouroff, Treasurer
Nana Mallet-Cardosa, Secretary