The time now in Delhi is…

Asha slum 1We are developing links with two overseas projects, ASHA in India, and the International Nepal Fellowship.  We are raising money for specific needs in these places, supporting people from our church to go and visit them, and help out where appropriate, and making links to enhance our faith life.

This section looks at our link with ASHA:

About ASHA:

Working for the poor of Delhi

Over 4 million people live in slums in the city of Delhi, India. Conditions are appalling, with a lack of education and access to basic amenities causing inhabitants to get trapped in a life of poverty and deprivation.

From its beginning in 1988, Asha are now working with 48 slum colonies comprising 350,000 people. They have developed a 3 fold approach to changing the lives of people living in slums:

1. Healthcare
Asha’s many healthcare initiatives have made a huge impact on the health and awareness of people living in the slums.

2. Environment and infrastructure
Slum residents can gain access to safe water, latrines and cleaner surroundings through collaboration with Asha

3. Empowerment
Asha’s training and support enables even those with no education to fight for their basic rights. The most effective of these methods is to form groups for women and for children, which meet regularly to help them to understand how to use their collective power to influence the “powers that be” around them. These group members have a sense of hope and growing confidence and dignity as they learn to work together to rise above the pressures of slum life.

In addition to these groups there are 2 further major strategies to change lives:

Higher Education support
Many slum dwellers have part time or full time work but this is generally of the most poorly paid areas of city life – average income is often around £1 -£2 per day. Higher paid jobs demand higher education which is virturally impossible amidst the pressure of slum life, where there is no money for books and any spare time for children is taken up in doing chores or trying to earn money.

Asha have been working hard to motivate children to achieve good grades in exams by providing support to school children, extra truition, english teaching, all the books they need, access to internet enabled computers as well as motivational sessions to keep their spirits high.

In August 2009, 177 children were admitted to University for the first time. The students are aiming for ordinary degrees as well as higher degrees and they have great hopes that they will be able to access high paid jobs that will enable them to build new lives.

Financial Inclusion
Asha has negotiated with the government and financial institutions to enable slum dwellers to access cheap loans in order to build up businesses – eg buying a sewing machine to make and mend clothes. Normal loan sharks charge extortionate rates but now local banks are enabling slum dwellers to borrow small amounts of money that make all the difference and give them a leg up in thir fight to escape poverty.

How St Tims is becoming involved:

To get an idea of how we are seeking to work with Asha, have a look at this Powerpoint which show how another church has been making an impact to help the work of Asha move forward. To view this file click here.

Here are other activities that we have been doing as well:

ASHA BBQ

We had a great time raising money for ASHA at  a Harvest BBQ, with a band as entertainment.  We raised £468 from this event, which was handed to Freddie Martin when he visited us in November.

Visit ASHA

Following from the successsful visit of some church members in February 2010, Freddie kindly invited us to return – ‘whoever comes, we will find work for them to do!’  If you are interested to see the work of ASHA first hand, have a chat with Phil.