Gauri Sawant rose to fame after the iconic advertisement by Vicks that showed a transgender as a mother of a girl for the first time in India. The advertisement touched millions of hearts, so did Gauri’s story.
Gauri was born as a man – Ganesh Suresh Sawant and raised in a conservative family in Pune. After several years of facing many major challenges, she managed to launch her own NGO. In 2001, she adopted Gayatri as an infant because her mother passed away due to HIV/AIDS. Gauri got the news that the girl would be sold at a red light area somewhere in West Bengal.
Knowing that the child needed care of a mother, Gauri adopted the child, despite facing opposition from the society. In fact, people still shame her for having adopted a child and working towards the upliftment of the society. Looking at how regressive society’s views have been towards not transgenders and sex workers, Gauri decided to get a home for them.
She asked for help, but did not find enough funds for it. Therefore, from her own savings and crowd funding, she is now building a shelter for sex workers and their children called ‘Nani ka ghar’. This shelter will be open for kids of sex workers and abandoned kids, a much needed ray of hope for the girls and transgender kids, all the revenue generated would be handed-down to these ladies, which would secure their future.
Gauri does not want anyone else to have to go through what she did. At the age of 9, after the mother’s death, Gauri realised she was not what others thought her to be. Facing mockery, bullying and societal pressures, she still went ahead and fiercely claiming her identity as her own.
Gauri has been working for the welfare of the daughters of commercial sex workers at Kamathipura, Mumbai. Her endeavor is to make a shelter and educational institute "Ajji Ka Ghar" for these kids outside of Kamathipura so that these girls don’t end up in the sex trade.
Gauri: The urge to fly, is a book on Gauri’s life, released in May 2019. In the book, she narrates her journey, the challenges, the hurdles faced and her innermost thoughts which shows that she is not different as she has been made to feel earlier in her life. Through this book, Gauri aims at bringing about a positive change in society. Through the book, as well as the shelter, she wants the next generation to accept transgender children as their own and not abandon them, or treat them differently.