The recent Oscar-nominated Australian drama, Lion, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar, alerted the general public in Australia and throughout the world to the scale of poverty that exists within the slums of India. It’s a story however, that won’t surprise twelve Trinity students who headed to Delhi in January 2017, to volunteer with The Asha Foundation, the goal, to empower local children through education.
‘Asha’ means ‘hope’ in Hindi. The Asha Foundation is committed to giving people in slum areas hope by allowing them to realise their potential, regardless of their background, caste or religious beliefs.
The Asha Foundation provides access to healthcare, financial services and education, and makes it possible for them to make long-term, positive changes to their lives.
Having volunteered last year with the Asha Foundation, current residential student, Victoria Hofflin, was responsible for helping to organise this year’s trip.
‘Myself and two others, Christopher Popovic and Tilly Ramsay decided we wanted to not only return this year but also make more of a difference. We chose the new group based off applications and found a group that had a variety of skills and specialties,’ says Victoria.
The participants on this year’s trip were Tilly Ramsay, Holly McNaughton, Christopher Popovic, Sam Strong, William Ross, Caitlin Tjandra, Charles Wylie, Jacqui Jiang, Theo Galanis, Molly Batrouney, Charlie Godber and Victoria Hofflin.
Throughout their journey, Trinity students taught English to Asha’s University students, facilitated training workshops, conducted observations at medical centres, visited the slum communities and lastly, had fun organising games for the children.
After speaking with Dr Kiran Martin (the Founder of The Asha Foundation) and witnessing their work firsthand, Victoria is convinced The Asha Foundation is having a real impact on the lives of local people in Delhi.
‘The work that I have seen Asha doing (even in just a year) is remarkable and the results and the difference it is actually making is astounding.’
For instance, Mahinder Shrivas, has been sponsored by The Asha Foundation since the age of 7, and was last year admitted to the University of Melbourne to study a Master of Computer Science.
The money raised by the students from the trip totalled over $12,000 and will go directly to the college (university) education of 17-20 year olds who have grown up in the slum areas of Delhi. Approximately $1,000 can send a student to university for an entire year and cover all the associated costs with having to leave home during the day to attend college.
To learn more about Asha watch this short documentary below:
To donate or volunteer with The Asha Foundation follow the links below: