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Today, we are spotlighting the journey of Jaisika, a resident of the Anna Nagar slum community.

Today, we are spotlighting the journey of Jaisika, a resident of the Anna Nagar slum community.

Jaisika is a first-year Asha student at Delhi University studying an Honors in Psychology, her dream course. She lives in the Anna Nagar slum community. Her story deeply touched Dr Kiran that she shared at the 35th Anniversary Celebrations in Mayapuri. With over 300 people in attendance and speaking over the microphone from a stage for the very first time, she inspired Dr Kiran with great hope for her future. Here is her story with some pictures:

Jaisika’s Story

“As I navigate the journey of my life, the threads of hardship and resilience weave together to create a narrative that is both sad and uplifting.

I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s in Psychology Honours from the famous Dr B.R. Ambedkar University in Delhi.

My family had to face adversity when they moved to Delhi, and we settled in the slums of Anna Nagar, where I was born in 2006. My journey unfolds in the narrow by-lanes and dark alleys amidst the struggles of a challenging existence.

I am the only child in my family, consisting of three members, including my parents and myself. My mother, a sweeper, toils tirelessly on a daily wage basis, working with a private organization, bearing the weight of our existence on her shoulders. In stark contrast, my father, battles unemployment while grappling with the demons of alcohol addiction. Our monthly family income is meagre 200 $ which has led to a continuous struggle for existence.

The corridors of my childhood reverberate with the haunting symphony of my father’s struggles as alcoholism took hold of his soul. Nights were punctuated with shouts, insults, and the ominous spectre of physical harm. I watched, a helpless witness, as my mother bore the brunt of his rage, sometimes even finding herself ousted from the sanctuary of our home in the dead of the night. The emotional scars of those tumultuous years seared into my consciousness, leaving an indelible mark on my studies and my spirit. Initially, I was scared, traumatised, and I cried.

Yet, amid this darkness, a beacon of hope emerged – Asha. A lifeline thrown to me when I was drowning in despair, Asha, with its dedicated and compassionate team, became the catalyst for transformation. Gunjan Di, the student Ambassador, introduced me to Sujata Ma’am, Meena Aunty, Kamla Aunty, and Kulsum Didi – the pillars of the Asha team in Anna Nagar.

As I began to come to the Asha Centre, I gradually left behind the shadows of my past and embarked on a journey of self-discovery. Like guardian angels, the Asha ambassadors stood by my side, imparting knowledge, conducting tests, and offering unwavering support. With their help, I triumphed over my academic challenges, securing 81% in my school leaving board exams.

Asha remained my steadfast companion through my 12th-grade studies and the tumultuous pursuit of college admission. The Asha team and the Ambassadors guided me through the tough Common University Entrance Test, the gateway to university admission, followed by the online University admission process. I had absolutely no idea about the procedures involved, neither did my family. Initially, I got admission in Liberal Arts (Geography and Political Science) in Delhi University. However, I did not like the subjects, and was quite crestfallen.

However Asha’s Education team persistently supported me and after their continuous effort and guidance, an email arrived bearing the news that I had been accepted into Dr B.R. Ambedkar University for a Bachelor of Arts in my preferred subject- Psychology Honours. It was a dream realized, and it filled my heart with joy.

Like a sturdy oak in the storm, Asha continued to anchor me through this tumultuous journey. I actively participated in community welfare activities, extending a helping hand to those in need. From serving meals to the elderly to raising awareness about dengue and malaria, Asha became a force multiplier for positive change in my life. Asha has not only been the critical pillar of support in my educational journey but has helped me to cope with my personal challenges and shaped my personality.

One of the most essential lessons Asha has taught me is its values. In the community environment marked by violence, negativity, and livelihood challenges leading to depression and mental problems, the Asha values are like an oasis in the desert, a sacred river which protects us from all forms of negativity, enlightens us with purity and guides us towards our life’s goals.

In Asha, we start our day by practicing Values like Gratitude, Affirmation, Positivity, Joy, Non Violence, Compassion and others which are precious. They gives us radiant energy to combat life’s challenges and make this world beautiful. We contribute our little savings to help the needy and the sick, practice gratitude with our parents and family members, serve food to the elderly in our community as part of the beautiful “Love and Lunch” programme, spend time with them and do many other activities which purify our hearts and navigate us through tough times. Dr Kiran has wonderfully integrated the values into the Asha Way of Life, a sacred document that is at the centre of everything we do.

Suddenly, an unprecedented tragedy struck our lives when torrential rain led to floods in our area. We lost everything we had. We rushed to the main road to save ourselves from drowning. Asha immediately provided emergency relief operations, cooked food, medicines, and other necessities of life, and stood shoulder to shoulder with the victims in the true spirit of compassion and solidarity. I remember how our Leader Anita Ma’am fell into the flood waters, but immediately picked herself up and continued walking towards my community.

In this symphony of struggles and triumphs, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Kiran Ma’am for changing my life’s direction and helping me to rewrite my destiny. The entire Asha family, a mosaic of support and love, has been my anchor during the sunlit days and the stormy nights. As I look back on this emotional odyssey, I realize that Asha not only shaped my academic journey but sculpted the contours of my soul, transforming me into a beacon of hope for others.”

Thank you.