The vaccination process for age 60 and above has begun in India. However, many of the elderly in the slums are hesitant to receive the vaccination, they are scared about facing the adverse reactions and the pain. At such a time, it has been a great challenge for our Asha corona warriors to persuade the elderly and convince them that receiving the vaccination is the right thing to do for their health. But our warriors have kept their spirits high and continued the hard work to visit every elderly home and provide them with the correct information and benefits of taking the vaccine.
Asha corona warriors in all the slums are registering the elderly in their area. Most of the elderly have started to receive their appointments as well. Few of the elderly have also already received their first dose of vaccine. They will receive their second dose after 28 days.
Through this entire process, the Asha corona warriors have taken the responsibility to personally assist the elderly to the hospitals. They make sure to sit with them and comfort them before and after they receive their vaccine jab. Furthermore, the warriors are also staying in touch with the elderly for the next 48 hours and providing them with the emotional support that they require.
Asha is focusing on taking special care of the vulnerable elderly people, so that no one misses out on the opportunity to receive the aid they deserve. Many of the registered elderly have their appointment in the upcoming week. Asha warriors are continuing the hard work to register more people every day. Receiving the vaccination will make the elderly feel safe and secure amid the pandemic.
80-year-old Kanta Devi, who once had a family and was well settled is now surviving at the mercy of her neighbours. Her destiny brought her to the Kalkaji Slum colonies 30 years ago.
She resided in one of the colonies of Delhi. She too had a small family. Her day started with sending off her two little children to school and her husband to the office. But her life took a turn and she lost everything. In an accident, she lost her husband and children. Tragically followed soon after by her parents. Kanta was the only child. Now she had no one to take care of her.
Kanta was left alone, distraught and helpless. Life became difficult for her, so she moved to the Kalkaji slum colony. Kanta built her small shanty in the corner of the slum but there was no electricity and water connection. This forced her to live on the street.
Today a 6 by 2 feet public bench is what she calls her home. Her home includes just a dirty blanket and a few water bottles. She cries silently when she thinks about her family. Kanta had a perfect family then. But as they say it, life is uncertain!
It was then that the Asha staff found her and learnt about her difficulties. The Mahila Mandal (Women’s Group) and Bal Mandal (Children’s group) regularly provided her with some food. Asha team provided her with medicines and supplement and looked after her medical needs.
When the Covid pandemic struck, it became more difficult for her to survive. The Asha team did not forget her even during the lockdown and through Asha Warriors immediately rushed to her aid. Asha has been providing her continuously with ration and made sure that her neighbours cook and provide her with 3 times meal. An Asha warrior has been attached with her to emotionally support. Now, every day she looks forward to the Asha Warrior’s visit. The Women Association members take turns to give her a bath and get her clothes washed.
“I have no-one yet Asha team helped me like a family member. No one except Asha has bothered for this poor lady. Thank you very much,” says Kanta with tears in her eyes.
The Friends of Asha- Great Britain have joined in efforts to help raise funds and support Asha’s response to the pandemic in Asha Slums through their virtual walk campaign called ‘Ramble to Delhi’.
Asha supporters from Great Britain will be walking the approximate distance from London to Delhi, covering the distance of 4500 miles on foot by Easter. This initiative has been largely successful so far, with supporters walking short distances and several miles at a time. They have also been joined by Asha Ambassadors and Asha Warriors in New Delhi to join them in their efforts and help cover the distance.
Thank you Friends of Asha GB for taking this great initiative to support the work of Asha.
With the pandemic, the education of school and college students has transferred online almost permanently. This situation has caused young students from the slums to face many queries and concerns in various subjects. At such a time, the Asha Ambassadors within various slums have stepped in and taken on the role of teachers to help students preparing for national school leaving exams continue their quest for education.
Our resilient Asha Ambassadors are taking out time from their hectic schedules to coach slum students within their homes and the Asha study centres. They are making sure that no students fall behind in their studies and receive all the help that they require.
We are so proud of our Asha Ambassadors for showcasing the value of ‘Pay it forward’ inaction and inspiring young minds within their slum communities.
On 4th March 2021, ASHA inaugurated its first IT Lab in Mayapuri Asha centre in the presence of His Excellency Barry O’Farrell, High Commissioner of Australia to India. The event was also streamed live through zoom, and Asha supporters in Australia and around the world were able to watch with great delight.
Dr. Kiran hosted the online event and informed that this IT lab would transform the lives of thousands of young school and college-going Asha students in Mayapuri slum community. Mala, an Asha graduate also spoke about the challenges that students face regularly with internet services and how crucial an IT lab is for her community. Later, the High Commissioner also took a moment to appreciate the efforts of Asha and the Friends of Asha-Australia for supporting such means of education.
The Asha students were very excited to have a personal interaction with HE Mr. Barry O’Farrell and share their stories with him. The High Commissioner also received the opportunity to engage with the Women’s Group and community health volunteers in Mayapuri and take a tour of the Mayapuri Asha centre as well.
ASHA would like to thank Friends of Asha in Australia for their support for this initiative.
ASHA would like to thank Friends of Asha in Australia for their support for this initiative.
This is a beautiful video of Mohini from Asha’s Tigri Slum Community.
I remember, during the early years of Asha, I personally witnessed newborn baby girls being strangulated by the midwife with the umbilical cord, and they were still born. I saw one of them being buried behind her mother’s shanty, surrounded by garbage and filth.
Girls in the slums are denied an education, married early and have children well before they are 20-21 years of age.
They are the silent sufferers with rampant sexual abuse.
How much mourning and sorrow there is when they are born, specially if they are child number 3 or 4.
Such was the situation with Mohini. But what a marvelous story of redemption through the work of Asha, told in her own words. And I’m sure we will see her in Australia soon, doing her Masters!
Dr Kiran: ‘Hello everyone, below is a moving video of Vandana, recorded by her in English. I have to say I was impressed by the level of English displayed. She is being given English lessons by an 18 year old enthusiastic teacher called Julianna. Julianna is now a freshman student at university in the US. She is the daughter of a wonderful supporter and friend Steve Watson.
Well done Julianna and Vandana! Who knows where Vandana will go next?
Rubina is a resident of Seelampur staying in one room shanty with her husband, one child and her in-laws. Rubina’s husband works as an assistant in a butcher’s shop on daily wage basis, earning a meagre income of 6000-7000 INR (96 USD/ £ 69) per month, which is too insufficient for supporting the family.
To add to the family’s problems, the lockdown because of the pandemic resulted in the closure of the shop and his family was almost on the brink of starvation. Rubina was pregnant but her family had little resources or means to take care of her. Asha team supported Rubina’s family with emergency ration and other necessary items.
When Rubina visited Asha clinic at Seelampur, she was 3 months pregnant. Her BMI was calculated and she was found suffering from severe malnutrition and Anaemia. She was immediately registered for Asha’s special Malnutrition clinic and was provided high energy, high protein drink along with micro nutrient supplements.
Further, her pregnancy was regularly monitored by home visits and her ANC Check-up was done at Asha clinic as per schedule. Her health condition improved significantly and her pregnancy also progressed well. Asha’s CHV also accompanied her to the hospital for the check-up.
When the date of delivery approached, the doctors at hospital said that that, Rubina’s delivery will be done by operation as she is having twins and there were some complications. Rubina got very nervous and started crying. However, Asha’s CHV motivated and counselled her and prepared her for delivery. Asha’s CHV also accompanied her to the hospital and got her admitted for the delivery. Due to the efforts of the doctors and the Asha team, delivery was normal and Rubina delivered two beautiful twin babies on 26th January’2021.
The babies are healthy and were born with normal weight. The children were breastfed within 6 hours of delivery. After 24 hours monitoring at the hospital, Rubina was discharged and sent to her home. Asha team is ensuring adequate post-natal care for the mother and child by regular home visits. Asha also ensured that Rubina is provided balanced and nutritious food and takes her medicines on time. Both Rubina and her twins are doing well.
Asha congratulates Robert Johanson, the Chairman of Australian Friends of Asha, on being awarded the prestigious Australia Day honours for his distinguished service to finance, Australia-India relations, and education. As the Chairman of AFOA since 2012, Robert has also visited the Asha slums and inspired many Asha students.
Thank you, Robert, for always demonstrating a deep commitment to the vision and the mission of Asha!