The Australia India Institute, Indian NGO Asha and the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne launched in Delhi a new programme called A New India-Australia Partnership to Support the Aspirations of Delhi's Urban Poor.
The program is the first of the Australia India Institute’s collaborative research projects to be launched in India. The Institute has funded 40 projects for 2011 across its six priority areas of Resources and Environment, Regional Relationships, Health, Education, Contemporary India, and Economics and Business.
The Australia India Institute/Asha/Nossal Institute program was launched by the Hon Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal at the Habitat Centre in March 2011.
The project, The Asha Model: an analysis of the impact and contribution of the Asha project to slum communities in Delhi, is funded by the Australia India Institute and will be conducted by Asha and the Nossal Institute. It will examine and document the critical components of the Asha model that have led to the success of Asha’s work in the Delhi slums over the last 22 years.
Asha was founded in 1988 by Dr Kiran Martin, a paediatrician, as a healthcare program in a single slum colony in Delhi. Since then Asha has developed a holistic model of slum development that is currently reaching more than 400,000 people in 50 slums, approximately 10 per cent of the New Delhi slum population.
Asha has not only improved the health and environment of the slum residents but its Higher Education program marks the first time in India’s history that large groups of children from the slums have been admitted to university.
“By providing greater opportunities and improved capacity for Delhi’s urban poor, Asha, the Australia India Institute and the University of Melbourne aim to show that global investment and development requires strengthening of relationships between all sections of society. Furthermore, the strengthening of relationships between Australia and India reflects the mutual benefit and understanding the two countries can gain from cooperation,” Dr Martin said.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Australia India Institute, the Nossal Institute for Global Health (University of Melbourne) and the Asha Community Health and Development Society, New Delhi was also signed at a press conference.