Red-light district
Children watch performers dance during a skit on HIV-AIDS awareness on World Aids day in the city's red light district of Kamathipura in Mumbai on December 1, 2011.Getty Images

Shweta Katti, 19, from Mumbai's red-light district of Kamathipura has won the 2014 UN Youth Courage Award.

Shweta is the first girl from Mumbai's red-light district to be honoured with the award. Mumbai's red-light district of Kamathipura is Asia's largest red-light district.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Education will be honouring a total of six young people, between the ages of 14-to-29, with a Youth Courage Award.

The awardees will be announced on 22 September in New York at a special Youth General Assembly.

Upon hearing of the award, Katti took to her Facebook account and posted:

"Guess whaaaaaat??? It's official — I won the UN Youth Courage Award!! Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me, believed in me and helped me in the past few years and generally in my life. And more than anyone, my mummy of course."

Katti was empowered by a non-profit organization called Kranti (meaning revolution), which motivates girls from Mumbai's red-light district and offers several educational programmes and therapy.

Katti joined Kranti at 16, and landed herself a US scholarship last year. She is presently studying psychology at the Bard College in New York.

The founder of Kranti, Robin Chaurasiya, said: "Children of sex workers in this locality go to BMC (municipal) schools or don't attend any school at all. We have a home in Marol where more than 10 girls, between the ages of 13-19 stay, learn through therapy, music, drama, sports and travel to break free of discrimination and share their stories with the world."

Another young girl, Sheetal Jain, 19, recently secured a one-year diploma course at a music school in the US.

Katti plans on setting up a mental health centre in Kamathipura after finishing her psychology studies in 2017.