There is a saying in India:
"You don't pour water on another man's field."
In other words you don't waste your money on what is only going to benefit someone else.
Throughout India and Bangladesh it is the son who is a parent's insurance against old age and poverty. A daughter will leave home when she marries and go to live with her in-laws, becoming part of her husband's family and giving them thereafter most of her time and resources. Why spend your money on her?
It's a system that can result in the wife becoming little more than a slave to a tyrannical mother-in-law and often causes great distress. It also ensures that a girl is thought of as a temporary responsibility by parents and a teenage girl as a positive liability!
Because of this way of thinking, girls in general are more poorly educated than boys and less well cared for. When they reach marriageable age - maybe as young as 13 in some cases - they are quickly married off. A girl who stays too long at home is a great worry to her parents.
In Bangladesh the average age of marriage for girls is still under 15 years and family poverty ensures that girls often receive poorer education and care than boys.
Meider Jonno Asha is working to help some of these girls; to bring new hope into their lives through education and training opportunities; to make them feel valued and purposeful and to give them a voice that can ultimately change their own society.
The problem for girls
What we are doing
In a society that marginalises and oppresses
the poor, the weak and the woman
we seek to bring Hope
Meider Jonno Asha (Hope for Girls) Bangladesh
EDUCATION FOR SLUM KIDS
Basic education for the illiterate
Many young girls in the slum have never had the opportunity to go to school. Although much of our work centres around vulnerable teenagers we also run basic literacy classes for young children, preparing them to get back into full-time state school.
Getting girls into full-time school
Sponsorships into school are changing the lives of the teenage girls we support. Linked to the provision of free coaching in our Asha Literacy Centre with caring staff and advice, financial sponsorships enable girls to get into school and compete on an equal footing with boys.
Just £17 a month changes a life.
If you would like to know more please use the form or chat facility below.
HELP TO THE NEEDY
Caring for community
We have caring staff in our projects, but Rosey and Mike also visit Bangladesh regularly and get involved with needy families, caring for medical conditions and helping to change lives for the better. This may involve helping the sick to access health care, supporting families in dire financial need, or simply bringing love and hope into the lives of needy people.
Asha Literacy Centre
for coaching and care
The Asha Literacy Centre provides a clean and a safe place for our older students to come for coaching lessons. It is also where our nursery school class meets and the younger slum kids too.
Our teachers are all girls we have helped and educated through Asha and they understand well the problems that young girls face.
But we do more than just study! We also enjoy meals together and the girls can relax and at times have some fun in a way that is impossible in their own homes.
Asha handicrafts and sales
Helping girls to help themselves
In addition to our educational activities we also run two workshops that provide work and training for young women. Working on a part-time basis to supplement their other income they produce a variety of beautifully embroidered and hand-sewn products. These are mostly sold in the UK at events and house parties but some products are available online and by post.
We are hoping to start an online shop on this site soon.
Handicraft items all hand-made by Asha
Girls working together in the Asha Literacy Centre
WHO WE ARE
Meider Jonno Asha (Hope for Girls) is a Scottish charity run by Mike and Rosey Whittles from Orkney. We spent 7 years full-time in Bangladesh but now visit regularly to maintain assistance to poor girls and women from the slums of Dhaka and to encourage and train our staff.
Through the projects we run we sponsor girls into full time education and support a Literacy Centre that provides free coaching classes and a place for secure study and activities. We also have two workshops for ladies, producing a variety of beautiful handicrafts.