Afzal was a toddler when his father, Hamid came to Delhi in search of his younger brother who had left home in a fit of anger. Hamid’s search ended in a small slum situated in East Delhi. Hamid was a landless farmer in his village, Samstipur, Bihar he decided to stay on in Delhi and started exploring the job opportunities as it was difficult for him to make the ends meet. He started working with his brother at a small shop but after a month, he started transporting passengers on a hired cycle rickshaw (tuk-tuk) to earn a meagre amount of Rs 2000 only (£ 23/ $28) per month.
Hamid brought his wife and other two sons, Afsar and Afzal to Delhi. He was forced to leave his 8 children back in the village with his parents.
Five-year-old Afzal seeing other kids going to regular government school convinced his parents to attend the same. He spent his whole life in a 20 sq ft shanty located beside a drain. The family used to sleep on the floor. One night, he was awakened in a stinky room and all the muck around him. It was raining heavily and before any of them realised, sewage water entered into their room. Imagine the plight of a young boy who had to spend the rest of the night standing in a stinky room filled with sewage water and dirt. In the morning he went to school without food and school dress. He still remembers it clearly how ashamed he felt when his teacher scolded him for not wearing the school uniform. His friends mocked at him. This happened with them every year during the monsoon.
Every day Afzal used to cross the Asha centre while going to school. He was intrigued by hearing children’s laughter and chattering coming from the centre and could not stop himself from entering the centre. He was amazed to see such a big beautiful place and seeing children playing around, studying and learning computer. For him, it was totally a different world. From that day this beautiful place became his new adobe.
The Asha team motivated him to attend after school classes and encouraged him to study. With the support of Asha, Afzal scored good marks in class 10th. He continued his schooling in commerce and scored 78% in his school-leaving exam. Unfortunately, he could not get admission in his desired college as a regular student, thus he decided to enroll at the School of Open Learning of Delhi University. During his spare time, he used to take tuitions and conducted door to door visits to motivate the students for higher education.
His good qualities made him an amazing Asha Ambassador and soon was offered a job at Asha. This changed his life forever. He learned professional skills from Asha. He joined the mission of Asha of sending every student to the higher education. In 2016 he along with the team got success to get the 24 girls’ admission in regular college. Out of all he still remembers Heena, one of the girls who started attending college after his efforts. Heena was about to get married when he went to her home to motivate her for college education. Heena had the zeal to study further. With the regular counselling finally, her parents allowed her to study further. Today Heena is earning well and considers Afzal as her mentor.
In late 2018, he got the opportunity to work as Visa and Administration Officer at a renowned tour and travel company. With his monthly earning of INR 20000 (£225/ $280) per month, he has improved the living condition of his family.
Although Afzal works 6 days a week, he takes his role of Ambassador seriously. He continues to work as an Asha Ambassador after work and on weekends. He signs off by saying, “Without Asha, my life would not have been the same. Asha is a platform where I saw the transformation in my life”.
To donate for students from the slum such as Afzal, click here: https://bit.ly/2tFvdy3