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Slum dwellers are vulnerable to the effects of disease, poverty and despair

Asha’s Empowerment Programme

Asha’s Empowerment programme sets out to enable individuals within even the most marginalised people living in slum communities to be empowered.  

The effect of Empowerment is that people become stronger, more confident, more aware of their rights and are in greater control of their lives. By working together, slum residents can support each other and enable their communities to change and develop. 

Empowerment of Women in the Asha slums 

Women have become the key drivers of a silent revolution. From the beginning, more than 33 years ago, Asha’s founder realised it was not enough to simply improve medical care within the slums. Social change in the community was also vital.

When Asha began its journey in 1988, women faced unimaginable poverty, distress, and misery. They coped with domestic chores in tiny one room houses, often without electricity or running water. They were looking after their children, husbands, and other relatives, managing on the lowest levels of income.

Asha provides geriatric care for the elderly in slum conditions
Slum dwellers are vulnerable to the effects of disease, poverty and despair

Slum communities were dominated by men who held traditional views, usually denying women a voice or even the chance to go out of the tiny home unaccompanied. They had very limited resources, poor healthcare and little education.

Asha began to change this by starting Mahila Mandal groups, or Women’s Groups, within Asha slums where women could meet, build their self-confidence, learn new skills and begin to dream of changing their living conditions. When the Asha team started meeting these women there was hostility and resistance from men in the community.

But the Women’s groups began to identify problems within their communities and to work together to change these. They lobbied officials to claim their rights and things began to change slowly. The empowerment of women led to improved maternal and child health, family planning, improved infrastructure such as better sanitation, roads, and water facilities.

Asha’s Programme supported Land Rights. They lobbied for permanent Land Rights in the name of women in order to give them greater protection and security. This strengthened their confidence, made them less vulnerable to domestic abuse and shifted the power balance in favour of women.

Women also began to realise the importance of education for their children. They knew this was key for both girls and boys.

Women’s empowerment has resulted in the empowerment of the community.

A new roadmap for progress has been constructed. 

Asha’s Empowerment of Slum Children
Children in Asha slums are empowered through meeting regularly in Bal Mandal groups. 

Asha’s Empowerment of Slum Children

Children in Asha slums are empowered through meeting regularly in Bal Mandal groups. 

These Bal Mandal, or the Children’s Groups, actively shape the lives of children through Life Skill Education and fun learning activities. They help to inculcate Asha Values in the children which makes them better individuals. The groups counteract some of the negative effects of growing up in a slum. 

Children learn to have self-confidence, to express themselves clearly and to have aspirations. With encouragement many of these children have gone on to become responsible caring citizens who are keen to support each other. 

Your Donation can help

Asha is working relentlessly towards bringing holistic development in the urban slums of Delhi. We’ll ensure that whatever you can afford will be put to the best possible use and give even more people hope for a better future.

Asha’s Empowerment of Secondary pupils 

Empowerment continues through programmes supporting young people during Secondary and Higher education.

The success of this approach is demonstrated through the numbers of young people’s lives that have been changed through Empowerment. Since its inception in 2008 more than 3500 young people have gone through Delhi University. Another 400 have taken vocational courses at college level. 60% of these students are girls.

Asha's Empowerment of Secondary pupils
Empowering young people through Asha teams
It’s harder to get men involved with Asha’s empowerment programmes as they are often out at work all day.

Empowering young people through Asha teams

Students and graduates have also joined Asha teams across the slum communities in Delhi and are well equipped to make decisions without any fear of reprisals and serve the community with complete freedom and enthusiasm.

The only operative guideline has been honesty, transparency, passion and commitment. The teams have acted as a catalyst in building Asha’s relationship with the communities through using their skills and enthusiasm to motivate and empower others.

The empowered Asha team takes pride in their work and is relentless in pursuit of Asha’s goals and objective, changing lives.

They have faced a huge challenge in bringing life-saving help to others throughout the Pandemic and made a lasting difference to many slum families.

Please give now

Asha’s Mission is to work with the urban poor to bring about long-term and sustainable transformation to their quality of life.

Asha India - children on the slum streets