Alternative Strategies for the Handicapped (ASTHA)

Partner From
01/01/2019 - On Going
ASTHA logo

Supported by: Wipro Cares


ASTHA is one of the few cross-disability organizations working actively with children and persons with disabilities in urban slums and resettlement colonies in Delhi, India.

Vision: To work towards an inclusive society where children and people with disabilities are respected and valued

Mission: To work in partnership with children and persons with disabilities and their families, with a focus on the most marginalized empowering them to access their rights.

ASTHA has focused on strategies for community development and the inclusion of children with disabilities through the model of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR). Strengthening and capacity building of community-based groups, interventions for inclusive education; Early Child Care and Development (ECCD), and rights consciousness in the community have been some of our thrust areas.

ASTHA  provides holistic Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) services which include screening of children, assessment of their barriers to nutrition, training for mothers to enable them to better accept the child,  early intervention through regular individual as well as a group session with the child, providing stimulation according to the needs of the child, supporting nutrition, early education,  socialization, and protection, among other important domains. Medical intervention and providing aids and appliances are also a major part of our work. Astha slo links children and families with government schemes and entitlements for their financial upliftments, including children with anganwadi and schools for their education.

Location of work 

ASTHA is a community-based organization that has been working directly in the urban slums of Delhi.  Our main center is located in Kalkaji. There are another six centers spread across South East Delhi for the better part.  Out of a total of six such centers, two of our centers are located in Okhla Industrial Area; two in communities near Jamia University; and one in Tughlakbad village, near Tughlakbad For. Yet another center is located in North East Delhi, Nand Nagari 

We have reached out to organizations in Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. We work in collaboration with such organizations on a set of research projects named, ‘Role of community-based strategies in enabling people with disabilities’,  ‘Long-term illnesses to access rehabilitation care during Covid-19 Pandemic,’ and ‘Inclusive Education during Covid 19 in Bihar and Delhi’ 

Partner updates

The WIPRO-funded project is ‘Early Childhood Care and Development’ where we have been working with children in the age group of 0-8 years.  

ASTHA has been working in 10 camps in the Okhla Industrial area and Tughlakbad Village. These are the Indra Kalyan Vihar, Mazdoor Camp, Sanjay Colony, Rekha Camp, Manav Camp, Harkesh Nagar, Tehkhand, Gola Kuan, Bengali Camp, Janta Jeevan Camp, and Chawla Camp. Most people here are migrants from various states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and even from places like Nepal.  As far as the Tughlakabad area is concerned it is an unauthorised colony. People living here include Bangladeshi refugees and rag pickers from lower caste backgrounds.  


In Okhla industrial areas most of the children are acutely malnourished as both parents remain engaged in strenuous activities throughout the day. Such work settings are also very hazardous, and injuries can put the breadwinner out of work. Malnourishment in children is a major cause of disability. Parents are unaware of the importance of early childhood care and development. Lack of childcare services in the community is also a major issue. 

Most of the mothers work as domestic servants who have no time to look after their children properly. The basic facilities are absent. There are no aganwadis. This project caters to all these needs and ensures proper intervention and inclusion of all children with delayed development, disabilities, and malnourishment. Five to six anganwadis have been opened due to the intervention of ASTHA in Tughlakabad village where young children are getting supplementary nutrition as well as preschool education. 

ASTHA, as an organization, has witnessed that children with disabilities, in a vulnerable socio-economic setting, are much more susceptible to development risks. Often, children with disabilities are most in need of early childhood care and they are the ones left out of mainstream services. There are high chances that the disability could become more severe or complex in the absence of mechanisms of early identification. ASTHA’s experience of implementing a community-based Early Intervention program in the urban slums has shown that training families of children with disabilities is one of the most effective strategies for the rehabilitation process of the child.

Learning and challenges

Our key learnings are the following:

  1. Children can access the anganwadis and schools at the right age with early intervention.   
  2. Through screening, not only we could find children with disabilities and delayed development but also malnourished children.  
  3. Regular meetings and follow-ups with stakeholders help them to become more sensitive towards disability.  
  4. Empowerment of families with regular information and training helps them to do some activities by themselves.
  5. Theatres and plays should be part of our sessions with children

Challenges faced: 

  1. It was difficult to work with government systems without orders from the top brass
  2. It was difficult to  undertake process documentation with migrant families 
  3. Lack of resources and sensitization in the systems caused difficulties

Plan of action

In the coming future, we propose to:

  1. Strengthen systems of operations, finance, and programs
  2. Widen the reach of the organization to nearby states
  3. Formalize a training team
  4. Strengthen staff capacity building in the area of education, assessment
  5. Strengthen The National Disability helpline as we believe information is power