Majority of our residents formerly lived in the brothels of Kamathipura, an area where within its 14 lanes, over 40,000 women and children are held as slaves. In a 10x10 room that can hold up to 6 beds for business, infants can be found under beds while mothers work.
The open spaces of our campuses were purposely created to help our women and children know that they are truly free, and let them experience on the outside, what we want them to ultimately feel inside. The freedom to love, to hope, and to live again.
Ashagram exists for the forgotten and rejected members of India’s society.
Whether it be women used in prostitution, children born to these women, or children who somehow end up on the streets and are then addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Ashagram embraces them and seeks to instill in them, a feeling of self worth. Our homes give them physical safety and emotional peace so that they can focus on healing and building a better future.
“She said there was no use fighting, no one to hear our cries, no one to help and there was no way to go back home as I would be ashamed of myself. They locked me in a room and beat me. They then took away my daughter Lakshmi and I got scared that she too would become like me. I had no hope and I gave in. I accepted this as my luck, but my worry was all for Lakshmi. There was a BTC Outreach Team that would visit and talk to us, and I met a lady named Kusum one day. She felt different from others. When I fell really sick, the brothel owners couldn’t care, but Kusum took me to BTC’s medical clinic to see a proper doctor. I started to feel better, and asked Kusum if she could keep Lakshmi safe. That’s when Kusum took Lakshmi to Ashagram.I was able to visit Ashagram one day. I loved it. It was beautiful. By this time, it had been five years and my debt had been paid off. So I decided to move out of the brothel. On my way to Ashagram, I wondered if my life would ever be the same as the past. Because I didn’t trust anyone. But then I saw children, like my Lakshmi, running around, playing. They were free.”
“One especially violent day my father was threatening to go after my mother with a knife; my little sister Anita opened the door and started shouting, hoping the neighbours would hear her. When he saw her do this, he took a soap dish and hit her in the face. She has a scar now, just for trying to help my mother. My mother decided that we had to run away. As fate would have it, my mother started working in Kamathipura. One day, she took me to BTC’s gathering and I saw children there dancing and singing and everyone was so happy. My mother learnt that BTC had a free children’s home so she spoke to uncle Devaraj about bringing us there. Soon after I and my siblings started living in Ashagram. I was so happy for all the love we got from the residents and uncle Devaraj. It was beyond anything I’d expected. It was the beginning of everything I was looking for.”
Majority of the residents of Ashagram have experienced deep betrayal from the very people who were meant to love, protect and nurture them.
At Ashagram we realize that breaking down the walls of anger, doubt, and fear that have been built as a response to betrayal is a patient, faithful, and diligent journey in which we seek to guide them to healing love.
At Ashagram, we dare our people to dream bold dreams.
We provide them with an education; we prepare them for college, and we take care of financial needs related to college, and beyond, at times.
For women and children alike, we provide vocational training. The goal is that through these opportunities, they discover their unique potential and feel empowered.
“When my teachers told me that I would be able to go to college, I couldn’t see it myself, but I learnt that if I pursued my studies with diligence that I would be able to accomplish this. The last 14 years have given me great hope, not just for my future but for my sisters’ too, who’ve been with me from the day I came to BTC at the age of 6; when I did not even know what technology meant let alone what a computer was. Today I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in IT, with the hope of becoming a software engineer. I am excited that my sisters after me will receive an education even better than mine. Thanks to all those who invested their lives in the life of a six-year-old girl, and saw something in her, which she did not see herself.”