Preeti and Rohit at their house in Kalkaji slum community in Delhi.
Preeti and Rohit at their house in Kalkaji slum community in Delhi.
ASHA India

Preeti, aged 18, and Rohit aged 16 are siblings who reside in the Kalkaji slum community in Delhi. These siblings have faced the best and worst times growing up together in the slum. Their father, a migrant from the state of Bihar, works as a tailor. He earns only around Rs.7000 each month. This money is barely enough to support the 5 members in their family.

"Times were extremely difficult while growing up, we always had to think 10 times before buying any little thing," says Preeti. To make matters worse, the Kalkaji slum had been lying in a highly underdeveloped state for years. This meant that Preeti and Rohit struggled to study without electricity and running water in their childhood, like many other slum families within their community. It was only during 2013-14 that basic amenities such as access to electricity and water were provided in this slum.

As the only breadwinner, their Father had the sole responsibility for the family’s income. Even after facing health issues himself, Preeti and Rohit’s Father never ever asked his children to quit their education. ‘I feel very helpless that as a son I cannot help my Father. I wanted to work and help him, but he never allowed that and always asked me to focus on my studying’ says Rohit.

Preeti and Rohit became associated with Asha NGO from the 9th standard. Since then, they have acquired basic Computer skills taught at the Computer classes in the Asha Kalkaji centre. During their 12th exams, these siblings were provided with books, counselling by the Asha staff and free tuition by the Asha Ambassadors at the Asha centre.

"The time management skill taught to us at Asha helped us to score 89-90% in our board exams! Earlier we were careless and wasted time so I must say that this habit that we formed has helped to bring the biggest change!" says Rohit.

The support of Asha paired with Preeti and Rohit’s dedication and hard work resulted in success. Rohit scored 90.75% and Preeti scored 89.75% in their 12th finals. Rohit now hopes to become a Bank Manager someday, with that in mind he is keen to pursue a degree in Commerce. While Preeti hopes to become a teacher or get into govt services for which she intends to pursue a degree in Political Science or Economics.

Through Asha’s support, both these bright siblings have registered and applied for admission to Delhi University. Asha helps such students by paying their college fees and providing them with continuous support over the years as they pursue their degree. Asha has sent 3000+ students from Delhi slums to the Delhi University since the year 2008. Asha provides continuous emotional and financial support to students during their college years. We remain committed to transforming the lives of such deserving students in the slums.

Asha Community Health and Development Society provides holistic community-based healthcare, empowerment, financial inclusion, education and environmental improvements by training, resourcing and encouraging slum communities to receive and enjoy their basic human rights. The founder of this organization is Padma Shri Dr Kiran Martin who began her medical career in 1988 as a paediatrician treating cholera in a Delhi slum. Under Dr Martin’s leadership, Asha’s programs have benefited over 900,000 people and 100 slum colonies in Delhi and have become models for national programs throughout India.

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