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100 slum students secure seats in Delhi varsity colleges

Avinash Singh Sudan , New Delhi, July 14, 2015, DHNS: 1:40 IST
Santosh studies in his dingy room in Saraswati Camp slum.
Narrow lanes packed with one-room tenements, some of which house eight to ten family members. This is the world from where Santosh comes. After securing admission to a Delhi University college, he may now be on the threshold of a better life.

Santosh, who lives in Saraswati Camp slum, has scored 86.25 per cent marks, enough to get himself admitted to Deshbandhu College’s BA course.

Not a mean achievement since while attending school he also contributed to the family income by selling tiffin for office-goers in Bhikaji Cama Place.

Santosh is one of the at least 100 school students from Delhi slums mentored by an NGO Asha Society who got into DU’s prestigious colleges like Maitreyi College, Daulat Ram College, among others for this academic session.

“Cooking is my passion and now I have got enrolled into Deshbandhu College under BA programme. I will be able to go for higher studies in hotel management,” said Santosh.
Some of these students scored over 90 per cent marks in Class 12.

“After my Class 12 result, I thought my mother could not afford my higher studies even if I scored good grades. My mother toils hard in a transport company to provide for the family. But I am going to start my first year of BCom (Honours) with the assistance provided by the Asha Society,” said Sandeep who scored 94 per cent marks in Class 12.

“Now I can dream of doing MBA too,” added the teenager who lives in Peeragarhi slum colony. His father walked out on the family five years ago.

Neha, a resident of Ekta Vihar slum colony, cleared Class 12 with 86 per cent marks, earning herself a seat under History (Honours) programme in Maitreyi College.

Excited to enter a college, Neha sees this as not just an opportunity for higher education but also to pursue her passion of dancing. “I am really looking forward to join the college and start with the exciting new chapter of my life. And who knows, maybe I could make a career as a dancer,” said Neha, whose father expired when she was 12.

The ‘Higher Education Programme’ that started with just 58 students in 2008 has until now seen over 1,200 students from the slums gaining admission to DU and other professional institutes.

“We have got education centres at around 60 slums in Delhi where we encourage young minds to pursue their dreams through education. Social pressures, obvious barriers of tuition fees and lack of confidence keep slum children from taking up higher education,” said Dr Kiran Martin, founder of Asha Society.

“We try to motivate them to shed their inhibitions and in turn helping them in their all round development.”

Gunjan, 17-year-old girl was not allowed by her father to join Daulat Ram College because it was a co-education institute.

“My father wanted me to join Mata Sundari Girls’ College instead. But my mentors at Asha Centre counselled my father that Daulat Ram College is a sought-after institute. Then he allowed me to join the college,” said Gunjan, who wants to be an interior designer.
DH News Service

Tomorrow: 18 slum girls secure admission in DU colleges

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