Our Partner – Arunodhaya Founder Mrs. Virgil D Sami – Child Rights Activist

“My strong wish is to see children as children, without being subjected to abuse and labor,” says Virgil D’Sami, a child rights activist, who is also the Executive Director of Arunodhaya Centre for Street and Working Children. She has been working on child protection, child labor and issues of street children since 1979.  Currently, she is working to raise awareness about and address the recent increase in sexual assault of children and drug abuse cases (administered in the form of drug-laced chocolates) in Chennai.

Virgil D’sami’s goals were big. She believed in transforming the community, rather than a just a victim. As an example, she says, “In a 1994 case, we had rescued a ten-year-old boy, who was working in a stainless steel factory then. He was rehabilitated. Today, when I see him working in a Public Distribution System (PDS) center and trying to rescue other children from labor, I am happy to see the spiraling effect that one intervention brought about.”

Though there are many challenges, what inspires her to continue the work is the change she has started to witness. “When I see children coming up in life, it gives me immense satisfaction. Many youngsters, who had been unprivileged children themselves, are now giving back to society,” said Virgil.

Rehabilitate 6500 children in last 25 years