“My father, a daily wage labourer, was working on the terrace of a building under construction. It was raining cats and dogs that whole day. My mother asked my father to not work over-time that day, but he did not listen and continued working. All I remember after that is, an impatient continuous knock at our door. The man carrying an umbrella, standing outside said, “he (with a pause) … died; he slipped off the terrace and fell.” I lost my father when I was barely 14 years old,” says 17-year-old Shashi wiping out tears from her face.
The family of three, living in Asha’s Mayapuri slum community, now had no one to feed and protect them.
Shashi’s only sibling Sunny (her brother) failed his exam in graduation. He was forced to drop out and start working as soon as possible the year their father died. He had been coming to Asha for years. With the help and guidance from Asha Team, he tried and opened a makeshift grocery shop outside his shanty and started earning ₹ 10, 000 ($ 144.90/£ 116.32) per month that was not enough but somehow supplemented to the family income.
“I have been associated with Asha’s Women’s Association (Mahila Mandal) since I came to this community after marriage. The values they taught and instilled in us and made me strong enough to look after my children and guide them well. After my husband died, I gave a portion of my shanty on rent. It helped me to earn bread for my children,” says Chandrawati (Shashi’s mother). Now, the family is managing its expenses well.
Shashi, the youngest child of the house, got the help of scholastic material and tuition classes from Asha Ambassadors from 11th class. Now, she has scored 70% in her school-leaving examination and 81 marks in her favourite subject- Music.
“I will make my sister study and make her do well in her life. I will let her do all that I could not. I know what life throws at you when you do not have degrees in your hand,” says Sunny.
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