This is the story of a beautiful girl called Nandana in her own words:
My name is Nandana. I am 18 years old. We are a family of 7. My parents moved with the 5 of us from Punjab to Delhi in desperate search for work. The big city overwhelmed us. With great difficulty, we could manage to build a one room shanty with pieces of plastic and sticks right beside the railway tracks in Mayapuri.
The constant noise, the rattling sound of the trains all day and all night meant that I just couldn’t sleep. I was bothered by the dirt all around me, and the smell would make me sick. When it rained, all the waste from the overflowing drains along with garbage would flood our shanty. We kept falling sick all the time because of the terrible hygiene.
My father was a day labourer, and barely earned 120 USD a month. We had two meals a day, mostly food that badly lacked in nutrients. We used a wood fire to cook as we had no money for cooking gas.
Life became a nightmare when my father began to drink regularly. He would spend all his money on alcohol. He then became violent and abusive, and I was always scared because I never knew what he would do next. I spent many nights crying out of sheer desperation with no solution in sight. I was deeply traumatized.
My brother opened up a small makeshift grocery shop to somehow help us financially.
My father went into liver failure and died last year. What a sad end he had because of poverty.
My sister Vandana had already been coming to Asha for many years. She was the first person in my family to go to university. I was so inspired by her. She encouraged me to come to Asha, and on her advice, I got associated with Asha.
That became the turning point in my life. Asha Ambassador Tushar spent many days and hours tutoring and mentoring me. As a result, I scored 91% in my school leaving exam. I was so happy. I never imagined I was capable of such a result.
I will be now studying Psychology and Philosophy at the famous Laxmibai College of Delhi University. When I saw my campus, I felt like I was walking in a dream. I felt wonderful. The Asha family helped me with every step of the admissions process. Without their help, I would never have been able to understand this complicated system. They paid for all my college expenses. I could never have gone to college without a financial scholarship from Asha.
I enjoy my work as an Asha Corona Warrior. My sister Vandana and I worked hard, going from home to home, identifying Covid patients and referring them to the Asha team at our health center. I have taken many people from my community for vaccinations. My service to my community gives me great satisfaction.
I want to thank Friends of Asha all over the world for doing so much to support me and many other young girls like me, to get a university education. I will never ever forget your kindness. Thank you once again on behalf of all the Asha students who are gettting into university this year. We are eagerly waiting for our classes to begin.