“You need to act – just thinking about it will never get you anywhere.”

Devkali’s mother used to work as a sweeper in an office. She often used to accompany her mother to help her clean the office. One of the employees persuaded the mother to send her daughter to school. When she came to the Hope Project, she was shy and inarticulate. Thanks to a sponsorship from the Hope Project, Devkali managed to complete her 10 th grade in spite of domestic problems. Then Devkali’s mother fell ill and was taken to see the doctor at the Hope Project health centre where she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. With counseling and regular treatment she got better. Some months later, Devkali’s father died and her mother remarried. Her stepfather ran a small kiosk near Nizamuddin Railway station but he was always broke. There were fights every day. In the 12 th grade, Devkali ran away from home. Later she told Rita she could not bear the marital problems at home between her parents. The constant fights were disrupting her studies and so she took refuge at a women’s shelter. She continued her education at Hope. Gradually she learnt to be more confident and started to smile.

After graduating from the 12 th grade, she returned home. She had a new determination and seemed confident about her future. She applied to Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health (VIMHANS) for a 6 month in-house training course in looking after the elderly. Hope Project paid Rs. 400 per month for the 6 month training. After that she started earning Rs. 2000 during the practical training. Our support stopped then. Today she is earning Rs. 5000 a month and is even saving money.

The VIMHANS coordinator, Ripin, is full of praise for Devkali. She is sincere and hardworking and he hopes more girls from the basti join the course.

Devkali still continues to drop into the Hope Project every now and then. A bright smile lights up her face. We asked Devkali, how this transformation happened?

“You need to act – just thinking about it will never get you anywhere.”

Devkali will continue to work but also plans to do her graduation through a correspondence course.

Asiya AsifAshida Devkali FirozGulshanHasbul Hussain Mobina Noorjhan RehanaSayidda ShahidaSheelaZakir

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