Australians help youth in Delhi's slums
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Anglican aid agency Anglicord and the Asha Foundation, an Indian organisation working with people in over 50 of Delhi’s slums, have announced a partnership to help short circuit the cycle of poverty for thousands of young people.
With Anglicord’s assistance, Asha hopes to raise enough money in Australia to enable 5,000 children from the slums to gain admission to college and university, addressing the intergenerational cycle of poverty entrenched in many slum areas. The funds will provide students with resources and a range of support mechanisms to stay the course in higher education, giving them access to better employment opportunities.
“I believe Australians will respond well to Asha’s request for their assistance,” said Misha Coleman, CEO of Anglicord. “Australians have a strong sense of connection to India for many reasons, but they also like to support things that help people to help themselves. Asha’s programme does just that.”
“The Hindi word ‘Asha’ means ‘hope’,” she said. “Asha and Anglicord, both Christian organisations, have a strong vision of hope. We want these young people to have real hope that a life of poverty is not inevitable. This programme provides that hope in a very practical way.”
In Delhi’s slums, a significant contributor to ongoing poverty is a lack of access to good quality higher education. Drop-out rates are high, and the lack of career guidance and materials means that those who stay are still disadvantaged. Social attitudes, poor living conditions and financial restrictions combine to exclude children of the urban poor from higher education.
Asha will provide materials and information, including textbooks, computer literacy programmes, career guidance and workshops, to support students from the slums during their last year of school. Asha staff and volunteers will also hold community meetings to raise awareness in the community of the value of education.
Asha has already been successful in sending nearly 600 children to college and university.
The foundation enjoys a high profile with many Australian leaders, attracting visits by Prime Minister Julia Gillard (during her time as Deputy PM), the Hon Alex Chernov, Governor of Victoria, and Bishop Philip Huggins, Bishop of the Northern and Western Region, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. The Asha Foundation also has a research partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Nossal Institute for Global Health. Founder Dr Kiran Martin visited Australia in October.
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