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‘Faith in Humanity Restored’: 17-Yr-Old Living, Studying on Footpath Gets a Home

Never put a limit on your dreams. This 17-yr-old went from being homeless to finally having a roof over her head.

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Born and brought up in Mumbai, this 17-year old girl spent her entire childhood living on a footpath. Her grandfather came to Mumbai searching for work and her family has been living here since then. The COVID-19 pandemic took a devastating toll on her family. Her father, a juice seller, lost a major part of his business income due to the lockdown imposed by the government.

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With sheer determination, Asma Shaikh wants to study hard and build a successful career. She dreams of fulfilling her parents’ wishes and hopes she’s able to provide them with everything they missed out on. In an interview with BBC, Asma revealed that she wants to study till graduation and earn enough money to buy her own house. This is what keeps her motivated and makes her want to work harder.

She cleared her Class 10th board exams in 2020 and is currently in Class 12th studying Arts in KC College, Churchgate. Last year, amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the government decided to close schools, colleges and libraries. Due to this, Asma had to attend online classes while sitting on the footpath. Doing this was not easy at all. There used to be a lot of disturbance from vehicles and sometimes enough light wasn’t available which made studying inconvenient. Adding to that, the frequent patrolling by the police was another hindrance. The most upsetting part is the constant harassment Asma and her mother faced. Men used to not only trouble them but at times, they tried to sleep beside them.

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Never put a limit on your dreams. This 17-yr-old went from being homeless to finally having a roof over her head.

Asma Shaikh attending online classes.

(Photo Courtesy: BBC Hindi)

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Many people came forward to help her out after her story went viral on social media. ‘Air Caretaker’, an NGO based out of Mumbai, decided to donate Rs. 3000 every month and sponsor her education. Even people living abroad raised funds and provided Asma and her family with Rs. 1.2 Lakh so that they can finally get a roof over their heads and have access to basic amenities. According to reports by TOI, Asma and her family finally moved into their new 1 BHK flat on Thursday.

Such random acts of kindness restore our faith in humanity.

(With inputs from BBC).

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