“The Humsafar Trust is the oldest LGBTQ organization in India. It was founded by Ashok Row Kavi , a reputed journalist and activist at a time when there was no talk and no national level movement for LGBTQ human rights. It is one of the leading organizations covering the spectrum of sexual minorities in India.”
Personally Humsafar has been a family to me, a true companion in journey where I have met people I hold close to my heart, get inspired by. Professionally, Humsafar is one of the few few organisations that has created an ethos that works best for the pursuit of equal rights. You can compare this ethos with that of a family, where despite being a trouble child, or having siblings that make your life hell, or parents who seem to have all the unreasonable expectations from you making you wish to rebel, you can count on it to be there for you during some of the worst phases of your life and stand by your side for some of the most meaningful struggles you decide to undertake. There is a method in the madness here and at the end of the day, every one of us find a space to be ourselves.
I know that each one of you at Humsafar has strived very hard to reach this enviable position. I look at it as a small baby which required lots of attention from friends & colleagues in early eighties.. Starting from working at sion hospital, you brought so many feathers to your cap to introduce a well-set clinic at your office. So many research projects, annual surveillances, and important ICMR Projects. You are grown-up now . With maturity comes responsibility which you have accepted in humility. God bless Humsafar!!!!!! I will always be by your side.
When I was a graduate student at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School, I collaborated with the Humsafar Trust to craft their 5-year strategic plan. It was a formative experience for me to work with a ground-breaking non-profit and such focused and talented leadership and volunteers. The work Vivek Anand and the Humsafar Trust do to provide health services to disenfranchised populations is inspirational and of such local and global impact through its innovation in the delivery of medical care."
The Humsafar Trust changed my life. I had the honor of volunteering with the organization as a student in 2005 through 2006. There was no formal internship program at the time; Vivek and Ashok were kind enough to allow a very eager American student to work alongside them. As one of the strongest voices advocating for gender and sexual minorities in India, HST introduced me to the world of public health advocacy and grassroots organizing. My time with Vivek, Ashok, and the entire HST family directly led to my becoming a lawyer and working to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ community in the United States. I am so proud of The Humsafar Trust, what it has become, the formal internship program they now oversee, and the millions of lives they have bettered in their more than two decades of work.
I have been associate with HST since 1999....It is home....family and lot more for me. Long live the HST, Long live the community....
Humsafar to me has always meant home, where I had a family always ready to support me. It had people who, to this day, I will call my guiding spirits. But above anything else, Humsafar has been there for Mumbai. The Queer community in Mumbai owes a great deal to Humsafar for simply being there and doing all the great work that they do, so that the rest of us can walk down the street wearing our skin without fear or reservation. From youth groups, to film festivals, from prides to numerous workshops... Humsafar is synonymous with Being Proud. Thank you, Humsafar.
Having worked in HIV programmes for twenty years, there are times when I need inspiration and support to go on….I call Ashok - my friend at Humsafar when I need inspiration. He is my companion in my journey from curiosity to empathy. I call Vicky at Humsafar when I need support and a shoulder to vent. He is my companion and assurer in my journey from Gujarat SACS NGO Advisor to Alliance India CEO. But when I visit Humsafar I am rejuvenated and ready to go….
HST currently manages 3 projects on prevention, care, support and treatment reaching out to over 7500 MSM and Transgender in Mumbai Metro. HST has strong linkages with public health systems in Mumbai and has strongly embedded ART services in the ART centres of Mumbai. HST also provides legal support, crisis management, mental health counselling and nutrition counselling to its communities.
HST is convener member of Integrated Network for Sexual Minorities (INFOSEM) the national level network of sexual minorities in India since 2003.HST has nurtured a youth LGBT group Yaariyan (Friendships) and Umang (Joy) for LBT persons, Kinnar Asmita that represent TG and Hijra community and Sanjeevani for MSM and TG living with HIV. HST has set up CONNECT, A National Online Resource Center that will connect LGBTQ communities worldwide.