When the challenges asked her to give up; HOPE whispered not to.

“I still remember my Baba and Amma lifting tonnes of bricks on their shoulders every day from loaded trucks to the building sites near our village in Basti, Bihar. It took my father’s backbone before we migrated to Delhi in a hope to make a better livelihood,” says Kamla with a hoarse voice.

Kamla was barely 20 years old when she got married to Kishan Dev, a Security Guard by profession, in Asha’s Anna Nagar slum community some 30 years ago. It had been really difficult for the couple as they were to feed four children with a meagre earning of ₹ 11000 (Dollar 160.70 and Pound 128.51) per month.

Kamla stitching clothes in her shanty in Asha's Anna Nagar slum community

Kamla stitching clothes in her shanty in Asha's Anna Nagar slum community

“I never knew what can be worse than being hungry but when I saw my little children crawling and sipping contaminated water with no food at all, I understood the reality of life,” recalls Kamla (50). "It was a time when I got to know about Asha and Dr Kiran's initiative in our community," she added. Taking inspiration from a few of her neighbours, she readily became a member of Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association) in the year 2001. Her progress was evident as she underwent CHV training to become a full-fledged ASHA Community Health Volunteer in 2006.

Her journey towards a better life never stopped since then.

Under Asha’s Financial Inclusion Programme, Kamla took loans of Rs 5000 and Rs 15000 respectively. Paying it back in time, she bought a sewing machine and started stitching clothes in order to supplement the family income. “Since I joined Asha, I feel like I have two families to take care of me. When my younger son got ill and underwent hearing loss, he received a hearing aid from Asha. Seeing my son listening after so many years was the best day of my life,” signs off Kamla.

A happy Kamla now helps and guides others and pays Asha values forward.

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