“This is Amir from V.P. Singh slum colony, one of the communities we have reached out to in recent times through the Asha Ambassadors program. He visited my home last week and I was deeply moved by his story.
Amir and his family of 8 have been living on Rent with his family in V.P. Singh colony for the past 20 years. So great has been their poverty that the family has not been able to afford to live in their own slum home.
Amir’s father has been repairing bicycles on the roadside all his life. Amir remembers days when they would buy bananas for 10 rupees for dinner and go to bed. He says that the only time they were ever given new clothes was at Eid. As a child, he would dream about nice toys, a computer, a phone, and a nice pair of jeans. Amir would wake up every morning and go with his father to help him, after which he would go to the free government-run school every afternoon. He never had any breakfast and would desperately wait for the midday meal being served at the school. The food was poor in quality, but at least it keeps his stomach full for a while.
Because the family lived on rent, they would have to move out of their home at a week’s notice from the landlord. This is how they would move their belongings. They have changed their slum home 8 times. Often exams were on or about to begin, but that was never a consideration for the landlord. Amir enjoyed studying and would be terribly upset with this regular disruption.
Amir’s family bought raw lentils, vegetables and oil on a daily basis as they never had enough money for a week’s worth of supplies.
One day Soni of Asha met Amir in his community. That was the start of a new life for Amir. Months of counseling and help from Asha resulted in Amir getting 88% in his high school board exam! He was amazed and shocked at this unexpected outcome. Through meeting with the Asha Ambassadors and hearing their stories, he decided he would try for a place at Delhi University. And he was able to enroll as an Honours student in the Political Science program at Delhi University! That was fantastic! Of course, Asha gave him all the financial support he needed. Amir will be interning at the New Zealand High Commission this summer, and now has a laptop that Asha has given him, that he is thrilled about. He now teaches the younger students in the slum for a small fee that adds to the family income and takes care of his personal expenses. Amir is filled with energy and enthusiasm, a wonderful Asha Ambassador himself, and determined to change the course of his life and that of his family. He would like to join the civil services or work in a multinational company as of now but is still figuring out his future plans. I was greatly impressed by Amir, and we are all committed to help him all through his journey.
Deepest thanks to Methodist College Belfast who have been visiting the Kalkaji community for over 20 years. It is through their work with the students that we were able to reach out to the neighbouring community. Thank you, Ruth, (the team leader of the Methodist teams) for your amazing commitment to Asha.”