From Slum to Delhi University: Finding his purpose with college education

Dalchand is a studious 18-year-old boy who resides in Tigri slum community, South Delhi. His father belongs to a family of farmers who belong to the Alwar District in Rajasthan. His father started working at the young age of 15 years to earn a meagre sum for his family. After his marriage, he relocated to Delhi with his wife and settled down in the Tigri slum community in the 1990s.

Life in Delhi was difficult as Dalchand’s parents had to start fresh. His father started working as a labourer, building houses, he earned a tiny sum of Rs.500 (7.07 USD or 5.45 £) a month. Soon, they had 1 daughter and 2 sons and there were more mouths to feed. To feed their growing family, Dalchand’s mother took a part-time job in a nearby ration shop earning Rs.200 (2.83 USD or 2.18 £) a few days a week.

Dalchand’s childhood was spent studying in a nearby government school with friends from the slum who did not have an inclination and motivation towards education. Hence, Dalchand too was not keen on studying and spent most of his time loafing around with his friends. In 2018, Dalchand met Asha team when they visited his home to motivate him to pursue a college education. Dalchand at the time was preparing for his 12th exams and got associated with Asha.

The Asha team realized that Dalchand was intelligent but lacked motivation and they became instrumental in making him realize the importance of further education and how he could achieve his full potential. The Asha team helped him to build his confidence and motivated him to break out of his shell.

At the Asha community centre, Dalchand started communicating with the Asha ambassadors about different subjects that he could pursue his college degree. At this time, his curiosity peaked, and he discovered his love for Geography. He studied very hard and scored 82% in his 12th exams. During his admission procedure in the Delhi University, the Asha team assisted him personally. The team waited with him till 12pm at night in front of college gates to make sure that his admission was secure and guaranteed. Asha further supported him financially for his annual college fees.

‘Without Asha, I would have surely lost focus in my life. I was shown the benefits of a college education at a critical time in my life. Today I enjoy my college life and have gained a lot of exposure which would not have been possible without a regular college education’ says Dalchand with a big smile. Today, Dalchand is an active Asha ambassador who provides free tuitions to Class 12 Asha students and teaches them History, 2 times a week. He wants to become a Geomorphology Professor in the near future as he loves learning and talking about Geography.

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