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Shweta Katti


Shweta grew up in Kamathipura red-light area, facing discrimination, stigma and trauma for years. After walking many paths (studying in NY, sailing the world, meditating in the Himalayas!), Shweta is starting a community center so Kamathipura families can access the world's best education, resources and opportunities...and live with justice, dignity and pride.

“What I know is that we're all interconnected and that's really a beautiful thing. We have links to everyone else in our lives and in the world. Different people have different journeys for different reasons. You can't judge, but you can celebrate that there are connections everywhere.” – Jane Seymour


mothers I had while growing up in Kamathipura - sex workers all look out for each other’s kids!


number of siblings I had growing up in my community - all of us without access to safety, education, healthcare, sanitation….we survived due to each other’s love :).


languages spoken in my community (which means 20+ types of food!) because people are trafficked to Kamathipura from all over South Asia.

Protect your courage

In 2012, she joined Kranti, an NGO which empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light areas to become agents of social change. Due to her work for marginalized girls, Shweta was named a “25-Under-25 Women to Watch” by Newsweek in 2013. She also received a full scholarship from Bard College, becoming the first girl from an Indian red-light area ever to study abroad. In 2014, she was the recipient of many awards, including the UN Youth Courage Award. She studied for two years at Bard and also won a full scholarship to Semester at Sea in 2015. Although she studied psychology at Bard, Shweta has now decided that her heart and passion lie with her community – she now plans to start a hybrid cafe/community center that empowers sex workers and their children with diverse activities ranging from human rights and community organization to djembe drumming and mindfulness meditation. She envisions a space which provide resources, support and opportunities for all marginalized communities so they can empower and sustain themselves. Shweta spends her spare time reading, meditating, spreading happiness, and fighting with her 15 sisters.