It’s nearly impossible for people to stay healthy if they live somewhere without clean water or sanitation.

Asha makes slums safer places to live by helping residents get access to water, toilets, paved roads, street lighting and other amenities.

Many slums are ignored by the authorities, so residents’ pleas for water supplies or garbage disposal often go unanswered.

Children in India slums

The Problems

Slum dwellers are vulnerable to the effects of disease, poverty and despair. The land they live on doesn’t belong to them, and they live in constant fear of eviction. Alcoholism, drug problems and domestic violence are common.

Typical slums have every kind of environmental problem you can imagine. Temporary huts that leak when it rains and provide hardly any barrier to heat or cold. Muddy lanes and poor drainage. Scavenging animals sharing space with humans. Scarce water supplies, or communal facilities in disrepair. No toilets, or only around 1 for each 125 people. Lack of electricity, cramped conditions and no security.

Most slum residents have struggled to find somewhere to settle and are mainly concerned with earning a living. Very few are motivated to improve the slum environment, and so all the problems remain or get worse. A lack of shared responsibility creates problems in maintaining water pumps or toilets that may be installed, and the threat of eviction is always present.

Many slums are ignored by the authorities, so residents’ pleas for water supplies or garbage disposal often go unanswered. The result is inevitable: settlements remain vulnerable to the elements, lack of water and sanitation increase disease, and the residents’ sense of helplessness leads them to accept their situation and fall deeper into poverty.

This is a typical slum in Delhi -shanty huts, made of cardboard, plastic sheets and pieces of cloth tightly packed together
This is a typical slum in Delhi -shanty huts, made of cardboard, plastic sheets and pieces of cloth tightly packed together

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.

Women in Ekta Vihar take the initiative and pave a damaged road within their area

Asha’s solutions

Communities taking action

Asha focuses on training community members and enabling them to achieve change. With knowledge, women gain the confidence to approach government officials, police and head teachers to improve their environment and opportunities for education, and can even influence the attitudes of entire slum communities.

Asha works to make community members aware of their right to safe water and sanitation. We show members of community groups, particularly the women, how to write applications to government departments for better water supplies, electricity connections and other basic amenities. With training, they can work as effective pressure groups and develop independent links with influential staff of government departments.

Over the years, community groups have successfully got lanes paved, areas of swampy ground drained, water pumps installed, tube wells dug and toilet complexes built. All these things dramatically improve their quality of life, and that of their fellow slum residents.

Starting education at a young age

We target children and young people within slum areas to give them a sense of community responsibility and make sure that they know the importance of a sanitary environment.

Children’s groups carry out regular sanitation drives and urge community residents to join them in keeping the slum lanes clean.

It’s easy to understand how a child who has grown up in a slum may not even consider the prospect of university.
Women were given land titles and bank loans, and became proud owners of their own homes. Owning assets greatly enhances a woman’s ability to influence decision making at the household as well as community level.

A ground-breaking housing scheme

Many people now own their own homes thanks to a housing scheme developed by Asha. In partnership with the government, Asha formed a housing co-operative that granted slum residents rights to a plot of land.

They then re-built their homes on the allocated plots using materials from their original shelters and additional materials bought with the help of bank loans. Reasonable maintenance charges make it possible for communities to have street lights, safe water supplies, paved roads and community centres. The scheme made a huge difference: some areas have developed to such an extent that nobody would consider them slums anymore.

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.

Child in the slums of India