Strengthening the women entrepreneurship in Asha slums

Asha’s Anna Nagar slum community, situated in Central Delhi, reflects an evident distinction between the closely packed shanties and the Delhi Metro that runs straight above them. The stark contrast is enough to bring to the fore, the socio-economic divide in our society.

In the same slum community, lives Santosh.

Santosh standing in front of her shop in Anna Nagar slum community
Santosh standing in front of her shop in Anna Nagar slum community

Santosh, a mid-aged widow with her five children was fighting a grave economic crisis from the last two decades with no support. When Asha established in Anna Nagar, Santosh readily became a Mahila Mandal member as she wanted to change herself. It was in 2008 when Asha’s Financial Inclusion Programme was launched, Santosh took a loan of Rupees 15, 000 and opened a small cosmetic shop in the community in spite of all the barriers of gender discrimination in the slum community.

In no time, her business flourished which not only led her to take care of the household expenses but also pay back the loan amount. She was able to settle her children in their lives and also became a role model for the other families in the community. A slum, where no women had the courage to walk alone once, is now celebrating its budding women entrepreneurs.

Santosh selling a cosmetic to a customer in Asha's Anna Nagar slum community
Santosh selling a cosmetic to a customer in Asha’s Anna Nagar slum community

“I cannot thank God enough for what help I received. My children were sleeping hungry and unclothed. With the help of my Asha family, the prosperity and happiness embraced us. I think from neighbours, who would not bother about the people living adjacent to them, to now, who do not hesitate to share the same food plates with each other; we have learned and earned so much,” signs off a smiling Santosh while gently pecking on her new-born grandchild’s cheek.

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