Coping with Cancer Deepak finds the will to live

A resident of Savda slum, Deepak’s father migrated from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh in the early 1990s. He got married and started living with his family in Thokar No.8 slum colony located on Yamuna’s riverbed. He started a small business of selling spices in the slum colony. He earned INR 50 (USD 0.7 cents/ 0.54 pennies £) a day to feed his family, despite having breathing problems himself.

In time, his father was blessed with 2 daughters and a boy. While his mother became a core member of the Mahila Mandal. As the family grew with time, his father’s income was not enough to run the household. To help with the family income, Deepak started working at the tender age of 10 years in a road-side restaurant where he washed dishes. He earned a minimum salary of INR 300 (USD 4.19/ 3.25 £) per month. With this money, he helped support his family. During their tough times, Asha provided support for Deepak’s older sister to get married by collecting donations from within the slum community.

In the year 2006, Thokar No. 8 slum colony was relocated to Savda Ghevra as per government order. With Asha’s assistance, the government provided the family with a small piece of land, however, Deepak’s family were not financially capable to build a house. During this time, Asha identified and shortlisted the family for the team of builders from Northern Ireland to build a house for his family.

As the years passed, his Father’s asthma got worse which made him incapable of holding a job. Deepak took on the responsibility of being the only source of income for his family members. He started working as a porter and made a living earning INR.12000 (USD 167.49/129.87 £) a month.

In the year 2017, Deepak was diagnosed with urinary bladder cancer and was bedridden for a few months. During this time, Asha assisted by taking him to government hospitals for check-ups. The Doctors advised surgery immediately, Deepak was operated on twice and underwent chemotherapy, slowly with time he started recovering well. His family went into severe difficulties, Deepak’s mother was forced to collect and sell plastic from the garbage. She currently earns a small sum of Rs.250 a day (USD 3.48/2.68 £) and provides for the family’s basic needs.

Such difficult circumstances in his personal life took a toll on young Deepak and he started falling into depression. Asha’s team members started to counsel Deepak and help his family. Asha never gave up on him and consistently provided him with support and counselling. After a few months, Deepak’s mental health improved steadily. Today Deepak is on the road to recovery. He is currently looking for employment which does not require much physical labour so that he can continue supporting his family. Deepak and his family are thankful to Asha for putting a roof over their heads without which their lives would have been very difficult.

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