Action Beyond Help And Support is a Delhi based NGO, registered as a public charitable trust in October 2002. Madhavi Kotwal Samson, a professional social worker with more than 30 years experience, is the Founder and Managing Trustee of ABHAS.
In 2002, while working in Tughlakabad, an urban settlement in South Delhi, Madhavi came across many marginalized girls. Many of them were either school dropouts or had never attended school. Absence of access to quality education was a major problem faced by the resident community. Convinced that education was the key to bring about a positive change in the lives of girls in the community, an idea was born and ABHAS was set up with the objective of empowering children especially girls with not just the opportunity to gain access to education but also imbibe knowledge and learning.
ABHAS began its social intervention initiative to promote and facilitate formal education by setting up a Library in the community in 2002. The ABHAS Library provided children access to books and an encouraging environment for pursuing education.
The scope of ABHAS's programs in the community has gradually expanded to cover children from different age groups. Early programs launched by ABHAS targeted young children and encouraged their parents to enroll them in primary schools. ABHAS Learning Centers then supplemented these efforts by providing facilities to enhance their learning level to focus on retention in primary school. These programs also identified children in different age groups who were at risk of dropping out of school and made available subject specific training facilities to improve their academic performance thereby increasing their confidence and strengthening their desire to complete school. Under a separate initiative, ABHAS targeted children who are either out of school or had never attended school and provided age related learning so that they could join mainstream schools. ABHAS strives to ensure that children, from different age groups, receive adequate academic and social support to enable and facilitate their journey from primary to elementary to secondary and finally senior secondary school.
ABHAS has designed and added programs that cater to the educational and health needs of the urban marginalized girls and women at each milestone of their life and equip them with life skills to improve self-esteem, build confidence and empower them to take responsible decisions.
Today ABHAS centres motivate and encourage children to think through the choices they have with regard to education. It involves parents in its programs with a view to promote their participation in the pursuit of education by their children. It journeys with children as they explore the myriad of options they have and those they wish they had, until they make choices for which they can take responsibility. Some decide to stay in school, some to supplement what they learn with the help of resources they are offered in ABHAS, so that they can make best use of the opportunities available. ABHAS continues to play the role of observer, mentor, service provider and a safety net for its constituents.
All children associated with ABHAS have shown improved academic performance and more than 80% continue to be in school. In 2012, the first batch of 4 girls from ABHAS, successfully completed Class XII. More than 300 girls of ABHAS have completed class 12 till date and most of them have enrolled for higher education. Some of these girls are also working to support their family income. 5 girls work with ABHAS as teachers.
Our underlying strategy is aimed at building capacity of women and youth, empowering them to become change agents to promote education in their communities. ABHAS prides itself in being a grass root level organization embedded in the realities of its constituents to ensure that educational intervention is appropriately designed and delivered.
A typical ABHAS classroom is filled with curious, inquisitive and eager children secure in the belief that they can work towards achieving a better life in the future.