“It is unimaginable to live in a buzzing city like Ahmedabad and still live amidst endless deprivation. The city was progressing at a lighting speed but our lives were stagnant for long. For 40 years, I have been living in this slum without access to basic facilities. I wanted to change things badly, but was helpless in the face of illiteracy and under confidence. However, when HDRC started working for the development of our slum, I got a bit hopeful. Soon I became an active member of the ‘Awaas Adhikar Jhumbesh’ initiated by the organization. It will always be one of the best associations of my life. We were trained on availing schemes, made aware about social issues and were also provided classes on functional literacy. And then there was no looking back. I formed a small group with few women in the slum, liasoned with different departments of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and managed to get water, electricity connection and also got streetlight pole constructed in the slum. It is a huge thing in our lives to finally see the veil of darkness lifting and light peeping through. And also after 40 years of staying at home, I have learnt to drive four wheelers and earn my own living. As a single woman, self-reliance makes me feel strong and happy. Somedays, I have to pinch myself to believe that I am really growing. At any age change is possible. One just has to start and have the willingness for movement”. Begumben Ismaelbhai Shaikh, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.