Asha High School Topper Mehjabeen on her new journey

“We would sit on the pavement outside and wait for amma (mother) to give us dry chapatis soaked in water,” recalls a teary-eyed Mehjabeen.

The family of Mehjabeen, daughter of a daily wage mason Mohammad Raees migrated to Janta Camp from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur some two decades ago. This specific ghetto is a few miles away from Asha’s Anna Nagar slum colony. Mehjabeen along with her parents, one brother and sister, and a grandfather live altogether in a shanty no bigger than the size of a car. With a meagre and non-fixed income, that usually ranges between Rs 7000 to 8000 (£76.47-£87.40/ $99.50- $13.71) per month, their monthly household expenses are barely managed. The Asha Ambassadors, while on a visit in search of bright students in and around the community, found a sincere Mehjabeen.

Mehjabeen was intelligent but naïve. She used to sit at her door studying all day since there have been electricity cuts for hours at length in her community. Be it rain or a scorching sun burning the surface, Mehjabeen never stopped her quest for learning.

Mehjabeen in front of her shanty in Janta Camp (near Asha's Anna Nagar slum community)

Mehjabeen in front of her shanty in Janta Camp (near Asha's Anna Nagar slum community)

The Ambassadors knew that it is important that Mehjabeen, a class eleventh student then, should be counselled for her better future as a matter of priority. But her orthodox background was a hurdle to her to even dream of college. The Ambassadors sought the help of Asha Team and made Mehjabeen’s family understand the importance of university education. In 12th class, Mehjabeen was provided with much-needed scholastic materials and a space comfortable for studying in peace.

“I had terrifying moments before the results were announced. But the emotional support I received from Asha Ambassadors is beyond words. Earlier, I was studying hard but never had a goal; with the help of Asha, I could recognise my dreams,” said Mehjabeen.

This year, Mehjabeen scored 96% in her 12th examination securing the highest in the subject of Home Science- 98. This would have been impossible without her hard work and assistance from the Asha Team.

Today, Mehjabeen has got admission to B.A Programme in Zakir Hussain College under the University of Delhi.

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