One Girl’s dream of Higher Education

18-year-old Kulsum lives in Zakhira slum community with her family. Kulsum’s very poor parents had migrated to Delhi from the state of Bihar in search of better opportunities.

However, life in Delhi was not easy. After struggling with odd jobs, her father found work as a scrap collector, earning about 100 USD a month.

Kulsum got associated with Asha through the Children’s Group when she was just 6 years old. She loved coming to Asha, and that is where she began to blossom, as she learnt about the Asha values and about community service.

Kulsum and her family reside in a tiny matchstick size house in Zakhira slum. The size of a room is barely the size of a single bed mattress. The family of 6 manage to conduct their daily activities in this small space.

Through Asha’s support, Kulsum was able to score 89% in her 12th final exams. Her excellent marks were sure to secure her a seat at Delhi University.

However, due to financial circumstances, her father refused to send her to university. The Asha team in Zakhira worked relentlessly for days to convince her father. The team told him not to worry about the finances; Asha would support her.

Finally Kulsum took admission at Delhi University, to study a BA in Economics and Political Science. What a victory after weeks of convincing her father!

It was at college where Kulsum, a shy girl began to shine. She started to participate in debate competitions and group discussions in class where she spoke her mind. She won many essay competitions, at one time also securing the 1st prize as a cash prize of Rs 2000/-. That meant the world to her. She remembered that day how she could not speak a word before a stranger. She could hardly recognise herself!

Today, Kulsum is in her 2nd year of university and enjoying her educational journey. She is an active Asha Corona Warrior, and is standing with her community during these worst of times.

“I really enjoy writing and want to become a Hindi journalist, writing for a newspaper or an online news website in the future. I know that Dr Kiran and the Asha family will always support me to achieve my dream” says Kulsum.

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