Discovery actively seeks to form partnership with the local community and prides itself on its outward facing nature. The Discovery value of altruism personifies how we approach our work the with local community and we establish ways where we can make an active contribution to the world, we live in. We encourage this with all our pupils and staff providing curriculum links and empowering pupils to show how they can make a positive contribution to the world in which they live.
We have a close partnership with the Leicester Diocese through Kibworth C.E Primary School but also the wider working of Discovery. Discovery Articles of Association are formed National Anglican Faith minority mixed MAT templates. This means that a minority proportion of members and our leaders are appointed by Leicester Diocese to ensure Kibworth C.E Primary School maintains its Anglican Faith.
The NSPCC is our national charity partner and we have formed a close partnership to promote the work and initiatives. We also host our central service team within NSPCC building in Leicester to maximise the contribution and partnership we can make. Our schools are active participants of the NSPCC Maths days and our schools explore additional ways to support the work the NSPCC does.
In 1988, there was a massive cholera epidemic outbreak which ravaged Delhi. The trail of destruction and misery had its maximum impact on the slums and the unauthorized colonies of Delhi. A young doctor, Kiran Martin, left the comfort of her upper-middle-class environment, went to the slums and started treating patients. It was not an easy task, especially in an area dominated by centuries-old regressive mindsets, patriarchal systems and well-entrenched power dynamics.
Whenever a visionary leader brings the prospect of change, there is usually a phase of resistance before people are willing to see the light. Dr Martin was not one to be deterred so every little setback made her stronger and more resolute. She negotiated with the power brokers in the slums –the slum lords and other ‘strongmen’ and she met the senior bureaucrats and ministers, including the Chief Minister. Soon she became the voice of the poor, of the underprivileged and the downtrodden. The idea of Asha was born, which means ‘hope’. The journey started with Asha’s Healthcare programme, but Dr. Kiran could see that healthcare needed to be combined with social determinants of health, in other words, with empowerment, financial inclusion, education, good environmental conditions and sanitation, in order to achieve inclusive development in Delhi’s slums.
The genesis of this idea started when Dr. Kiran sat under a tree on a broken chair in a South Delhi slum and saw her first patient. In time it became a great movement and developed into this pioneering Asha Model of Development which is nationally and internationally recognized. According to the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia, which analysed the charity’s work, Asha’s vision can be summed up as follows: ‘Let us attempt to live lives of nobility and heroism and have faith and fortitude that can bring about momentous achievements. Let us remember that there can be no neutrality in a situation of injustice and oppression. If we say we are neutral, we have already taken sides with the powerful. Let us be those who speak up on behalf of the marginalized ones… those who are faceless, voiceless. Let us work towards a new order, a new society, where human life is not just respected but revered.’
Since its beginning in 1988, the Asha Community Health and Development Society has grown to have an active presence in 91 slums in Delhi, which are home to more than 700,000 residents. Asha’s slums have witnessed remarkable changes in health, equality, standard of living and gender justice.
The following characteristics are central to Asha’s success and sustainability.
Our work with ASHA at Discovery
Throughout the year, international volunteers and eminent individuals from across the globe visit Asha’s work in the Delhi slums, to gain first-hand experience of the transformation that has taken place in the lives of people with whom Asha works. These visitors contribute their skills and expertise, and organize activities for children, youth and women.
Every October Discovery take out to Delhi a team of staff from across the organisation to volunteer their skills in helping within the slum communities. Soft-skills classes including English language classes have been organised for the youth of Asha which have benefitted them immensely in their academic and professional journey. Activities, games and educational workshops are organised for the children by our staff, which contributes to their development.
Our schools actively support fundraising initiatives to support the work of ASHA, these have ranged from bake sales to sponsored runs.
At Discovery we have brough ASHA to life in the curriculum. We have our own scheme of learning which schools may choose to deliver throughout the year. The scheme enables our pupils to learn about a very contrasting location, the culture of India, the impact of population growth and of course communicating with the children about their everyday lives.
More information about ASHA can be found at: https://asha-india.org/