Asha Sadan – literally, House of Hope – is housed in old Umerkhadi jail in the heart of Mumbai with its high walls, and declares its intention to keep the cruel world out. It has done so for over 90 years for its young wards, marginalized citizens of a society that has no room or resources to protect or nurture them. Asha Sadan houses children in the age group of 0-6 years, and young girls from 14-20 years.
Asha Sadan houses less fortunate children from different backgrounds – some are lost or abandoned, some come from homes with ailing or terminally ill parents, some have convict parents, some are children who have been rescued from begging, many have been abused, some are children of commercial sex workers – and all of them are in dire need for a caring home. At any time, over 100 children ranging from infants to children to the age of 6 know Asha Sadan to be their only home; many of them form a transitory population, with a few returning to their biological parents and others being adopted.
Police bring in minor girls rescued from brothels, or girls who they find in danger of imminent physical abuse. Most often the girls have been moved from one institution to another before they are brought in, never knowing families, never having experienced security. The youngest children are usually found abandoned, or given to the home by unwed mothers.
Asha Sadan’s sole objective is to provide a secure and caring home for the children and girls, all of who come from varied circumstances, but have one thing in common – most are severely underprivileged and all of them are in distress.