“She (Dilbari) loved me, helped me like a family when I was left stranded. This came to all of us because of the Asha values,” says Kasturi with the willing smile on her wrinkled face.
This is a story of a 90-year-old Kasturi and 50-year-old Dilbari from Asha’s Kanak Durga slum community who inspite of belonging to different religion broke all the barriers to help each other.
Kasturi has seen the transformation first hand from the time Asha started working in this community her entire life. She always mentions that Asha values have remained one underlying principle and a constant, which is the core of every intervention. It has sustained generations in the community to progress.
Dilbari migrated to Delhi after marriage, met Kasturi often in the Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association) meetings at Asha. Gradually, their bond grew stronger. Despite belonging to different religions, Kasturi and Dilbari, who practice Asha values religiously, never been biased towards each other. People around them take inspiration in maintaining harmony and dignity.
Both found solace discussing and taking advice from each other. They recall how bad infrastructure used to be when they shifted to Kanak Durga slum community as newly-weds, decades ago. A hillock bordering the slum stood in as a community toilet. The women bathed in their houses, by the door, so that the water seeped out into the drain that cut across the slum. Diseases were rampant. Since then they worked as a pressure group for the community with the guidance from the Asha team.
Lately, Kasturi accidentally fractured her femur bone and was left bed-ridden, without any assistance. This was when Dilbari along with the other Mahila Mandal members came forward to her help and provided the medical facilities staying put constantly.
Today Kasturi is walking again!
Both these ladies believe and practice Asha values to the core. It is the mantra of most in the Asha communities. Such a deep bond of Dilbari and Kasturi is one finest example of practicing Asha values where neither religion, caste nor creed becomes a barrier.