Shivani is a bright and active 18-year-old girl who resides in the Trilokpuri slum community, East of Delhi. She lives in a joint family comprising of 16 members within a small house consisting of only 3 rooms. This is home to her father and his brother’s families who eat and live together.
Her Father, Radhe Shyam belonged from the city Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. In the 1980s his family of farmers migrated and settled down in Delhi’s slum Trilokpuri to gain a better income. Radhe Shyam started working as a mechanic at the tender age of 14. His job in a small garage fetched him pay of Rs.50 (0.70 cents USD or 0.53 pence £) a week. Soon, Radhe Shyam got married and had children, life got busy and even more difficult as there were more mouths to feed. He took up a new job driving a school bus, he currently earns Rs.8000 (111.48 USD or 85.18 £) a month.
In the year 2001, Shivani the eldest child in her family was born. Her grandmother and mother were core members of the Mahila Mandal (Women’s Group) at the Asha Centre in Trilokpuri slum. At the age of 6 years, Shivani joined the Bal Mandal (Women’s Group) and became an integral member. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed all activities in the Bal Mandal, the pot-luck meals and interactions with volunteers are my favourite childhood memories. I was a quiet and shy child and my childhood was enlightened by the impact of Asha’ says Shivani with a big smile.
As a child, Shivani was keen on studying and anticipated scoring high marks in her class. The Asha team noticed this, they motivated young Shivani to study hard and continue pursuing her education. With a huge family at home, finding a quiet place to study was a huge problem. At such times, the Asha community centre became a place of serenity and comfort for Shivani. She would spend a lot of time preparing for her 10th board exams initially and then her 12that the Asha centre.
With the unconditional support from her family and the Asha team, Shivani scored 91% in her 12th standard board exams in 2019. She also scored 95% in the subject of Political Science, becoming the highest scorer for this subject in her entire school. Shivani was awarded a medal as an honour for her hard work and dedication from her school faculty.
Currently, Shivani is looking forward to pursuing a 2 years-Teacher Training course at the District Institute for Education and Training (DIET). Shivani wants to become a Teacher and help to educate slum children like herself. She also aspires to earn a good salary and build a new home for her family members in the near future.