In 2014, Asha for Education supported
Projects in India.
Here are a few of them ...
It has been estimated that over 400,000 children currently live on the streets in India. Often lacking the financial support of adults, the children have to provide for themselves through odd jobs. Many children resort to making money through more undesirable means, such as pickpocketing, stealing, and prostitution. Their vulnerability frequently exposes them to abuse and extortion. They lack access to sanitation, medical care, and nutritious food. Their education is virtually nonexistent which can lead them to alcoholism and drug abuse.

Founded in 2003, by Amit Sinha, Jamghat is an NGO that aims to rehabilitate children living on the streets of Delhi. In addition to providing the children proper nourishment and education, Jamghat provides for a loving and supportive environment. It attempts to bind the children together into a family so that they can make a positive change in each other’s lives. The organization started when Sinha approached 14 boys living on the Delhi streets and asked them if they would be willing to act together in a play. The boys agreed and that changed their lives forever. An organization, Action Aid India, requested the group to perform a play on homelessness for Prince Charles and some other visiting dignitaries. Sinha and the boys worked together to put on a great show and grew very close to each other in the process. When the time came to perform, they impressed Prince Charles and all others in the audience. In fact, the play was such a success that Action Aid India further funded the young actors to perform across the country for the next 3 months. Along the way, the boys developed self-esteem, emotional fulfillment, and most importantly, a sense of family. Sinha found a home where all the boys could live together where they called themselves Jamghat, or “lively gathering.”



Jamghat has developed into a holistic child development organization that provides education, vocational training, health services, theater training, and emotional support to street children. To achieve its goals, Jamghat has instituted a variety of different projects such as full-time homes for children, theater and street plays, and the Night walks.

Asha for Education currently gives financial support to a 24-hour shelter that Jamghat runs in the Lado Sarai area of Delhi. Asha specifically funds uniforms, books, and tutors for the children in the shelter. Asha supports the cost of education of 10 girls, which includes, admission costs, stationing, books etc.

Full time homes

Aman and Anchal are full-time homes for street children. Aman supports up to 15 boys at one time, while Anchal houses 11 girls. Both provide the children with basic amenities, education, vocational training, theater training, counseling, and emotional support. Counselors, volunteers, and the Jamghat staff help the children deal with their past and when applicable, help them reconcile with their families.

Additionally, staying true to its artistic roots, Jamghat provides the children with training in music, dance, and theater. Jamghat feels it is important to cultivate the artistic potential within the children for their holistic development. Two other projects Jamghat has created are Aangan and Ekjut. Aangan is a daycare center that operates 6 days a week and takes up to 40 children per day. But unlike Aman and Anchal, Aangan is not a full time home and the children have to spend their nights on the street. Recognizing this issue, Jamghat aims to provide the children, for at least the majority of the day, a safe environment in which basic amenities, health services, and formal and non-formal education are found. Physicians from the Max India Foundation perform routine health-check ups every month, and three meals are provided at the day care. Non-formal education is also provided on a regular basis and children are often enrolled in local public schools.


Vocational training

Ekjut is a vocational training service that started in 2010. A trainer instructs the children on how to tailor and make jute products and encourages them to employ creativity and their innate artistic talent when making the products. Jamghat has installed Ekjut stalls in various schools and college fairs, which has resulted in Ekjut in working with corporates to create products for various events.

Awareness building

In addition to providing for the children directly, Jamghat also aims to raise awareness of homelessness issues. The Night walks and the theater plays are two programs through which this end is achieved. During the Night walks, Jamghat staff members lead a group of volunteers through the streets of Delhi and help distribute quilts to homeless individuals. Theater training is a way Jamghat executes one of its core ideas: cultivating the artistic potential within children as a way of enriching their lives. The plays allow the children to get in touch with their creative personalities and give them a sense of empowerment. Jamghat has in fact put on multiple stage productions, many of them led by the children themselves. Over the course of the last 10 years, Jamghat has made a tremendous positive impact on the lives of street children.

Future Plans of the Project

Jamghat plans to build a short-term housing crisis center for girls in need of support and counseling.

Jamghat also aims to reintegrate them with their families or other childrens homes.

Help Support Jamghat

Contact the Berkeley Chapter to learn more.

Donate Now to Jamghat


The Vikasana bridge school, supported by Asha for Education (AfE), is located in Duglapur village in the Chickmagalur District of Karnataka, India. The project is stewarded by Asha UFlorida and funded by Asha Seattle chapter. Both chapters have worked seamlessly to develop this project as a role model for self-sustenance.

A bridge school is a segue for under-privileged children to get back to the mainstream education. These are children who have had to discontinue their education due to either their parents migrating for livelihood or the children themselves being forced into child labor. The Vikasana bridge school selects and adopts such children, nourishes them in its residential school facilities, sends them to mainstream government schools and also rehabilitates them with their parents when they are ready.



A significant development in the last year is the construction of a two story building in the premises of Duglapura Bridge School to make more space for the existing children and accommodate a few more. The existing building had only two rooms (12’ x 14’ each) and 12-14 kids were required to share each room.

The organic farming initiative has demonstrated significant progress. The project director has demonstrated significant progress in seeking local support, as always, by securing solar powered lamps & lighting for the facility.


AfE ensures that Vikasana is able to provide the children nutritional meals three times a day. The organization enrolls the children in a nearby government school to receive their mainstream education. Teachers at the bridge school assist the children in doing their school homework and ensure that the students are making a steady progress in school. Apart from their day-to-day routine, the children participate in several activities during the year. A yearly picnic, which is also planned as an education tour, is one of the most entertaining activities of the year. Vikasana also organizes yearly cultural and sports competition, which is attended not just by the bridge school children of Vikasana but also by students from several schools in the region. Vikasana also celebrates all festivals and treats its children to sweets and other goodies, including toys. As part of the organization, the children get to spend quality time with the national and international visitors that broadens their horizon. Among those who have visited the bridge schools of Vikasana are Asha volunteers, an undergraduate student intern from a university in the state of Texas, officials and patrons  from Germany’s KKS Foundation, local enthusiasts among others. The major items, which AfE is funding through its annual fund release, are – (i) nutritional and healthcare needs, (ii) salaries, (iii) school supplies including uniforms. Apart from supporting the annual budgeting requirements, AfE has funded the organic farming initiative.

Organic Farming Initiative

With a vision of self-sustainability, Vikasana began an initiative of organic farming in 2009. A recognized organic farming expert, the project director, Mr. Vargees Cletas, has set up a farm in Duglapur village with support from AfE’s Work an Hour program. The idea was to develop a piece of land into an organic farm-cum-orchard and use the produce to support the nutritional & financial needs of the bridge school. The Work an Hour program was able to raise enough funds to acquire about 3-4 acres of land located next to a beautiful lake. Today, the bridge school building is also housed within the premises of this land. Unlike farm lands fed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, organic farms are self sustained and in the long run, involve limited maintenance. The small piece of land, which is registered as an asset of Vikasana organization, is being used to grow vegetables and fruits. The bridge school family has acquired cattle for dairy supply and the children have their share of milk and other dairy products on a daily basis.


The project admits between 25-30 children every year. The number of children being supported by AfE sponsored bridge school has not increased a whole lot but the organization has sought other means to increase the overall intake of needy children through other sources. The project has been a productive platform for AfE to seek internship opportunities for students studying in the U.S. and interested in learning about education of underprivileged kids in India. The community has provided significant support to Vikasana in their efforts to help the local needy children.

Nine-year-old Seetha is the daughter of daily wage laborers who tried to support their three children with a modest daily wage. Her family fell apart when Seetha’s mother stopped working after she was hospitalized due to acute back pain and her father became addicted to alcohol. The children were on the streets looking for menial jobs just to avail food. Seetha, being the eldest, stopped going to school and began fending for the family. However, having heard of Vikasana’s bridge school, her father put her in care of its project director and disappeared. Today, Seetha is happily living her life in the bridge school along with other boys & girls and receiving her mainstream education. Although she is away from her parents, she has embraced the bridge school environment and is performing very well – both academically and other activities.
Eight-year-old Venkatesh is the son of migratory workers who earned their daily wages by going from one plantation to another for harvesting areca nuts. His father was an alcoholic and would often quarrel with his wife on petty issues. Although, their two children managed to attend school during their early days, life took a bitter turn when their mother passed away from tuberculosis. Due to the negligence of their father, the children would skip school and spend their time playing on the streets. Venkatesh’s aunt was kind enough to take care of Venkatesh’s elder brother, Jayanth. At this time, Vikasana stepped in and admitted Venkatesh into the bridge school. Today, Venkatesh is enrolled in the nearby government school and leads a happy life in the bridge school environment.


It is important to acknowledge that the project is making decisive impact in the lives of many underprivileged children. Of equal importance is the effort of the organization to educate the parents through intervention sessions. The organization nourishes most of the children it admits for at least a year.  When a child is ready to move back with her/his parents, Vikasana makes a conscious effort to educate the parents about their children’s future. The organization and its director, Mr. Cletas, are also invested in promoting and encouraging organic farming practice in the region. As residents of the bridge school, which is housed in the farmland, the children too are exposed to the ways and methods of farming and caring for farm animals. The caretakers take keen interest in encouraging children to explore the farmland and learn about harmonious co-existence with nature.

The model of using organic farming to support/sustain the needs of underprivileged children, although not new, is an attractive model. The Booth School of Business at University of Chicago, among others, is specifically studying the functioning of this model of Viksana and has communicated with the AfE project steward & project director in this regard. As part of future plans, the supporting Asha chapters and Vikasana are very keen to facilitate implementation of such models across other Asha projects.

Arogyaseva started by focusing on 4 tribal villages of Thane district, Maharashtra.  Besides being below poverty line, residents of these villages were mostly illiterate, survived on farming alone and were debilitated or dying of easily treatable diseases and lack of food.  Parents forced their children to work on the farm, which caused two problems – children were out of school, and they did hard labor with little nutrition.  Malnourishment invited additional diseases that took away valuable time in children’s lives.

This project, aptly named Arogyaseva, which means ‘selfless service of whole health’, has journeyed with Asha Toledo and its volunteers since 2006. Pragati Pratishthan, an organization in India provided valuable collaboration to Asha Toledo on this project.


Sujit Nilegaonkar, M.B.B.S, one of the irreplaceable field volunteers in the journey with Asha Toledo and Pragati Pratishthan, along with his comrades, proposed to bring about gradual but positive change.  Over the course of few months through Nilegaonkar, Asha Toledo worked with Vanvasi Vidyarthi Vikas Yojna, an organization focusing on development of children’s health and education from these tribal areas.  This was a two pronged approach – one addressing basic educational needs, other providing health awareness programs to village youth.



With modest help from Asha Toledo, of $1500, the first phase of project provided books, tables, chairs, sitting mats, black boards and water filters for school.  Although some sort of building structure was used as school a better construction was achieved through help of government interventions which was only possible due to Asha’s continued efforts that acted as primer for the government support.  Lack of electricity in these villages soon saw funding for solar lamps – the first solar lamps in couple of villages were funded by Asha Toledo, which encouraged local financial support for additional solar lamps for about 130 villages. Subsequently, a team of two doctors from Mumbai organized and conducted a medical camp for 700 people.  Interactions between Asha Toledo and Arogyaseva team further continued which brought additional developments such as introduction of a computer for basic computer education, installations of two libraries and improved infrastructure at 5 schools.

The big-ticket budget item was supporting of the Balmitra Program which included food for kids and salaries for teachers and support staff.

A girl from Kodesagwadi, who migrated with her parents to brick factories for 5 months in a year, was very interested in education. She couldn’t read or write like children her age. In Khelwadi, teachers worked with her for two months to see her academic performance improve noticeably. Her family was initially very reluctant to search options for her to stay back for school while they migrated for work. However, after various efforts her parents were convinced to leave her at her grandmothers’ place instead of taking her with them. Today, she is very happy as she is able to continue her education without breaks.


  • Khelwadi program was supported by Asha’s Work An Hour 2013 campaign.
  • The enrollment in the school has increased as Khelwadi teachers ensure children’s regular attendance through improved method of teaching to keep children interested as well as making family members aware about the importance of education.
  • The number of medical camps has increased from once a year to once every three months.
  • Khelwadi: Many parents appreciated the efforts for Khelwadi and agreed that children became more vocal and expressive with the help of this program. Parents have also noted that children are seen taking initiative to go to school and children have gained confidence.
  • NREGA: Villagers participated in the meetings conducted to create awareness of the act. They have started demanding work and preparing pressure groups to guarantee employment. Women, especially, expressed that they have received work under this act for the first time. The participation of villagers in Gramsabha has increased in all villages, especially women.


  • 1600 people benefited through NREGA related activities. 180 students through Balmitra and 120 students through Khelwadi program have benefited. The project serves at least 120 students in 4 schools.
  • There has been a lot of appreciation and cooperation from villagers. An event called as Rojgar Din was organized by the Villagers of Hirve, in Ghanwal Grampanchayat, with the support of Asha Toledo. More than 250 villagers and government officers were present for the program inaugurated by the Hon. Collector, Mr. Velars Sir of Thane District. Programs like this helped villagers to obtain employment in their village and reduced migration to cities.
  • Three different training programs were organized for the youth members after which, they begun working in their own villages for effective implementation of all schemes, especially NREGA.
  • The root cause of malnutrition among children was the villagers’ lack of agricultural knowledge, which was addressed by providing agricultural guidance by an expert to educate farmers on improving their farming efficiency as well as methods of increasing income through Agri-base and animal husbandry.
  • The efforts of volunteers on this project prompted media attention and government appreciation resulting in additional funds for construction of school building and drilling of bore wells for access to water.
  • Through systematic assistance from Pragati Pratishthan, the Palanaghar Project addressed malnourishment among children and pregnant mothers.
Villagers in the Jambhoolmatha hamlet were demanding work through informal means, which didn’t yield results. Arogyaseva conducted meetings and awareness camps in this hamlet and despite villagers’ lack of self-confidence, Arogyaseva educated them on demanding their rights directly from appropriate authorities. Villagers found this method to be effective and continue to use these methods and obtain employment in their own villages.



From the present situation, where Khelwadi is being conducted in 4 schools, the plan is to expand it to 20 schools in the next 3 years and to the whole Mokhada block in the next 5 years. This expansion will benefit a total of 3000 students by the end of 5 years.

Support Arogyaseva