Jeevan Asha — India
Jeevan Asha (means “Life of Hope”) is a small non-profit based in Thane, Maharashtra, India, just outside Mumbai. The population of Thane is over 2 million and almost 60% of them live in slums. Their flagship project was established in 2000 – a Day Care Center for the children living in the nearby slums. Reaching out to these socio-economically challenged communities, JA offers a chance for pre-school aged children to receive education, nutrition and basic healthcare, often providing their only nutritious meal of the day.
Established by Basil D’Souza in 1999, their Mission Statement is to “educate and empower the community; to motivate and inspire them; to enhance their living standards by improving their livelihood options”.
Basil has created Jeevan Asha around the principal of recognising that education is one of the most important tools of breaking the cycle of poverty. Consequently, the main focus of the Day Care Center (DCC) is illiteracy, as most of the children arriving are unschooled, as a result of parents too busy fending for their family with pre-school education being very expensive and thus taking a backseat.
Additionally, oftentimes pre-school aged children are home babysitting their younger siblings, without a chance for education. Jeevan Asha reach out to over 30,000 children living in five slum pockets along Ghodbunder road in Thane city, offering them the opportunity for education and a piece of daily security.
Growing off of the success of the DCC, Basil continued to create more goodwill in the community with the Community Development Program, which aims at empowering women with information and tools to build healthier families and communities. The CDP includes such programs as HIV/AIDS awareness and care, an Adult Literacy program, summer camps, leadership empowerment and more.
The impact of Jeevan Asha over the last 17 years has been a powerful one – over 3,169 children have been impacted by the Day Care Center. In addition, 619 HIV tests have been conducted, and 44 women have benefited from the still new Adult Literacy program.
A modest but mighty organisation, Jeevan Asha is bringing hope, optimism and empowerment to an impoverished community – and all with very little funding. We are so thrilled to be teaming up with them, and look forward to sharing more on them with you from the road and on our online channels!