Ms Jill headed to Asha’s Mayapuri Slum community immediately after the orientation and Ms Jennifer Graham, wife of Canadian High Commissioner- Mr Nadir Patel joined her there. On their arrival, the community greeted them with garlands of flowers and expressed gratitude.
Visiting the community for the first time, Jill took the initiative to interact with the tiny tots of Bal Mandal (Children’s Association), the young students and Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association) members. She was surprised to know that all the Bal Mandal students of Asha attend schools every day. The Vice President of Bal Mandal elaborated the Asha values and shared how all the members help each other in colouring, painting the sand-made piggy banks and making the hand-craft items. Jill was curious to know what Asha does to defy caste and other differences. One of the students spoke of the pot-luck lunch they do every Tuesday, that left Jill and Jennifer amazed.
“We celebrate each other’s birthdays and ma’am bring presents too,” said a Bal Mandal member with a pinch of excitement in her eyes.
Jennifer was content seeing the familiar young children who have grown up since it was her second visit to Mayapuri. She interacted with the college students and also asked about their future plans.
The inspirational story of a young girl named ‘Sami’ brought tears to Jill’s eyes. Both Jill and Jennifer were more than surprised to know how Asha’s higher education programme is helping the young girls in these slums go grab higher degrees and not get married at such a tender age. Jill interacted with all the students and also applauded the Mahila Mandal for their vigorous efforts in knocking down the unauthorised liquor shops in the premises. Jennifer praised all of them for the brave-act. The community also spoke of Mahila Mandal’s initiative, that helped renovate and build toilets and bathrooms in the area. Against all the so-called norms, Jill stood up from her chair and sat down with the ladies and embraced them. Talking about the consensual abortions and family planning, Jill quoted, “Women should take care of themselves first and they only should decide when they want to have a child and when not”.
In turn, Jennifer also shared a small story from her visit to Mayapuri last time. She told that a policeman asked to bribe him first to resume a renovation work in the nearby area. But now, the things are tremendously changing for good, she emphasized.
Looking at the evident vivid transformations and the unbiased ownership amongst men and women made the dignitaries happy and joyful.
Both Jill and Jennifer walked down the area and visited a few shanties to get a first-hand experience of how a slum looks like.
It was a time to bid adieu. Mahila Mandal members including Shahjahan gifted the sand-made piggy banks, beautifully decorated by the Asha students, to Jill and Jennifer. The day concluded with lots of laughter and love.
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