• Screenshot from Vicks' 'Touch of Care' ad starring Gauri Sawant & her daughter Gayatri. (Vicks / Youtube.)Source: Vicks / Youtube.
Gauri Sawant was the star of a Vicks commercial that went viral across the world, and now she's using her newfound fame to build a shelter for children of sex workers.
By
Chloe Sargeant

9 Jun 2017 - 1:55 PM  UPDATED 9 Jun 2017 - 1:55 PM

Gauri Sawant was the focus of the popular 'Touch of Care' commercial for Vicks earlier this year, which showed her adopted daughter speaking about how India's treatment of transgender people means her mother is stripped of basic civil rights. 

The commercial ended up going viral, and was viewed over millions of times around the globe.

Sawant, a prolific and passionate activist in her own right, has now decided to use her newfound fame to create a shelter that will assist children of Indian sex workers who might need support and a safe upbringing. 

Emotional ad starring Indian trans woman and her adopted daughter goes viral
The advert stars Indian transgender activist Gauri Sawant and her adopted daughter, Gayatri.

The activist has many friends who are transgender, and rely on sex work in order to support themselves and their families.

She visited a red light district in Mumbai, and there learned just how difficult it was for many trans women to balance their work and looking after their children. 

She told Pink News that one woman she met told her she was once forced to service a client while her newborn baby was in the room - if she chose not to, both her and her child would not have been able to eat that night.

Shocked by stories like this, Sawant decided to create a safe space for children of sex workers, so they would have a place to go if they're faced with a situation where they would be vulnerable or in danger. 

Sawant's daughter Gayatri was adopted after her biological mother - a sex worker - passed away. Another reason Sawant plans to open the shelter is to stop orphans and vulnerable children being trafficked into sex work - like Gayatri easily could have been.

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Sawant has big plans for her shelter, which she plans to name 'Nani ka Ghar'. It hopes it will act as a safe space for children, as well also provide jobs to transgender people as caretakers.

“We call the elders in our community nani and they will be the heart and soul of the shelter,” Sawant told Pink News.

Sawant is crowdsourcing funding for the shelter via Indian site milaap, and she's raised nearly 50% of the necessary funds. 

Sawant says she's hoping to fund the shelter via donations from local businesses: "If we have the courage then it will sort itself out. I hope people realise the importance of standing up for social issues and donate to such causes."

You can see Gauri Sawant's milaap crowdfunding page here: milaap.org/fundraisers/gauri-sawant