"From the seed of need was born an idea"
We are a young, India based foundation, set up to provide support to sex workers and sexual minorities by offering fellowships and grants. We are unique because we are part of the movements we fund. We work around issues that as yet few funders focus on – sexuality. We do the work individual donors don't have the time to do: reaching out to activist organizations and researching their campaigns and projects.
We operate on a national scale and know the big picture, but we are also linked to grassroots groups. We will work to help grantees to connect their own issues with the concerns of other activists. In our first phase, we have focused our efforts on South India, where our team has had years of experience, and Odisha, where a strong need for such an initiative was expressed by the members of the sexual minorities and sex workers communities.
Solidarity Foundation serves as a bridge between resources, ideas and knowledge. We work on the frontlines of social change. We registered ourselves as a Trust in March, 2013 and have since been putting our structures and systems, including this website, in place.
Solidarity Foundation stands with working-class sexual minorities and sex workers to support the creation of a just society where people can live with dignity and freedom, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation or occupation as sex workers.
It strives to foster significant long-term social-justice solutions through fundraising, grant making and community involvement.
We envisage a world that is just, and celebrates and supports diversity. We see ourselves as active members in social change philanthropy for issues surrounding sexuality in India, mobilising resources to support social justice for groups marginalised due to their sexuality.
The core values that SF will uphold are:
- Inclusiveness: Which translates to mean enable people from diverse backgrounds, identities and ways of thinking
- Empathy: With communities that we support
- Integrity: Honesty and integrity in all spheres of our actions, we believe in being responsible and transparent in our action and functioning.
- Accountable: To the communities, to Solidarity Foundation, our vision, to our funders, and to our grantee
- Courageous: To innovate and review work regularly.
The idea of the Foundation was born out of research projects conducted over a three -year period. We drew from experiences that emerged from a “pilot project” of fellowships supported and supervised by Aneka from 2010.
A 2008 pan-India study on the advocacy needs of sexual minorities, conducted by Shubha Chacko and Elavarthi Manohar, illustrated that that potential leaders from working-class backgrounds had little opportunity to engage in human rights work.
We also built on a research undertaken to determine the feasibility and need (if any) of setting up such a foundation in 2010 by Ashwini Sukthankar This highlighted the urgent need for development of smaller organisations, especially in non-metropolitan (smaller) cities and towns, and the need for individuals to have access to funding and other support and resources to build strong grassroots movements of working class sexual minorities and sex workers.
The idea of Solidarity Foundation was further shaped at the National Consultation held in July 2012 at Bangalore, which also recognised that funding patterns needed to be redefined.