Monika Yadav is an 18-year-old girl who resides in the Nehru Ekta slum community. Her family consist of four members: father, mother, elder brother and herself. Her father belongs to a family of farmers from the western UP. After his marriage, he migrated to Delhi with his wife and settled in the Nehru Ekta slum community for a better livelihood.
Initially, Life was tough and new in Delhi as her parents had to start Life from scratch. Her father started working as a contract labourer, building houses, which was not a permanent job. Most of the time, they agreed to work for lesser pay. Her father earned a tiny sum of Rs.500 a month which was insufficient to run the family expenses, and with the unstable income, the family had to struggle to meet both ends meet.
Since Childhood, Monika has been a hardworking and bright girl; she always aimed to study further. Her parents, finding her love and a keen interest towards studies, enrolled her in a private school to get a good education and a positive environment for her future growth.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, when everything was closed, it adversely affected her father’s income, and the family could barely sustain themselves. Monika started taking tuition to supplement her family’s income. The pandemic not only affected their financial condition but also adversely disrupted the education of Monika as she did not have a proper internet facility to continue her education through the online platform as the family had only one smartphone. In such challenging situations, her parents were reluctant to allow Monika to continue her studies as higher education for girls is still a low priority for Indian families with a conservative mindset. However, the Asha team ensured that Monika’s education did not suffer. Asha motivated and counselled her family and explained the benefits of education to develop a good career and break the shackles of poverty. The Asha team leader encouraged Monika to join the Asha centre and access the facility of IT Lab with advanced laptops, high-speed connectivity, dedicated study spaces as well as academic resources like supplementary materials, mock tests, sample papers, classes conducted by senior student ambassadors and most importantly, enabling and conducive environment. Asha Team leader also ensured that she attended the career guidance workshop organized from time to time by professional experts at Asha centre. With Asha’s support, Monika scored 91% in her class 12th exams.
However, admission to university presented a new set of challenges in 2022, when the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) was introduced for university admissions. The Asha team and Asha senior ambassadors diligently helped students as they were unaware of the process and came from a background where family members lacked education. Asha ambassadors ensured that no eligible student would be left out during this admission process. Every alternate day they conducted workshops with aspiring college students on clearing doubts and concepts. Asha ambassadors ensured that students had all the required certificates and documents for admission. They guided them at every stage of the complicated CUET process, which included selecting the right college based on their performance on the test, aptitude and correct choice of the subject during Form filling. Finally, with Asha’s intervention, Monika’s dreams were fulfilled, and she got admission to the prestigious Gargi College of Delhi University in B. A Hons psychology. Asha provided her financial support, including College fees and other supporting expenses like Entrance exam fees.
Monika is an active Asha ambassador who conducts regular classes and prepares juniors for their exams. She counselled, motivated, encouraged, and educated junior students to continue their studies and pursue higher education. She does home visits to guide the parents and family members of students in their respective slum communities about the importance of education and creating an enabling environment for education in her community.