On 12th January 2019, the Asha Team welcomed Dr Jack Leder, Retired General Practitioner and Prof Gilah C. Leder, Adjunct Professor at Monash University and Professor Emerita at La Trobe University, Australia to Asha’s Chanderpuri slum community. After a warm welcome, Jack and Gilah had a wonderful interaction with the members of the Children and Women Association and Asha’s University students and graduates. They heard first-hand stories of transformation in the life of the slum dwellers.
The women shared about their journey at Asha and how being a part of the Women’s Association has filled them with confidence and dedication to work towards community welfare. While speaking about their journey one of the Community Health Volunteer (CHV) remarked, “Though we are not literate but, Dr Kiran and the Asha family have given us the power to differentiate between right and wrong for which we are very thankful to them”.
The students shared accounts of their experiences at University and the exposure they got during their internship. They talked about the challenges they have faced in their lives, and how Asha is continuing to help them to become ‘change-makers’ in their own community.
Both Gilah and Jack were amazed to see how the members of Children Association know about the epidemic disease (Cholera, Smallpox, Tuberculosis and etc) as well as are working towards the total eradication of the disease from slum communities.
Later they went around the slum visiting residents, understanding their perspective towards life.
Gilah was extremely happy to see the changed position of girls from the Asha slum communities who unlike their mothers, are not only opting for higher education but are also accepting internships and jobs at some of the most reputed organisations in Delhi.
“It’s hard to single out a specific moment but the ‘recipe’ given by a 10-year-old for the treatment of diarrhoea, or the diagnosis and help available for TB will stay in my memory for a long time. So, will the career plans shared by the group of school students. The university students we met seem appropriately proud of what they have achieved and can already contribute. I could go on and on, but not now, except to mention the pride with which we were welcomed into the homes of those we met, including the clear disappointment when we could not go to all. The creative support provided for those willing to work and help themselves could be an example for our indigenous community” remarked Gilah.
Both Gilah and Jack felt proud that their son, Richard Leder, Secretary and National Coordinator of Australian Friends of Asha for slums, is actively involved in the work of Asha. Gilah also mentioned, “Now I exactly understand, why my son takes time out of his busy schedule and dedicates it to Asha.”