NRI lends helping hand to ‘Asra’, a home for homeless girls

Jaswant Singh Gandam

PHAGWARA: Dubai-based NRI woman entrepreneur and philanthropist Jasbir (Jassi) Bassi and her daughter Komal Bassi visited ‘Jyoti Sarup Kanya Asra’, a home for orphans and homeless girls, Kharar near Chandigarh and gave 130 blankets, stationary  goods and other required items to its inmates, promising to do more for promoting this humanitarian cause.

Jassi Bassi is MD of Car Fare, a flagship company of the Bassis, in Dubai, U.A.E. KS Bassi, her husband and company’s Chairman, is a business magnate, educationist, hotelier and a social service stalwart.The mother-daughter duo met Dr Harminder Singh, founder of ‘Asra’.

They offered to provide beds for it. They plan to give help to the home on regular basis.

Dr Harminder Singh told them that 135 girls are housed in the charitable home. The latest entry is six month old infant.

Started with four destitute girls in 1998, the triple storey Asra is built on a three-kanal land, all bought with public donations. Harminder’s wife Harbhajan Kaur is a government school teacher and gives him full support for the noble cause.

When asked what prompted him to take to it, Harminder says that his father died when he was a child. “My kind uncle (‘chacha’) brought me up. I was given good education and all the facilities that a father would give to his son,” he continues.

He says, “I always believed that good education to girls was pre-requisite for women empowerment. I wanted to do something for it.  A grandmother met me and sought help for her single-parent daughters. Two were in 6th class and two in 8th.I went to an Ashram for it but they refused to admit girls. I started helping the girls myself. I started the gesture with four girls and then founded ‘Asra’ for giving the orphans and homeless girls safe shelter, education and other facilities for leading a dignified life”.

He said that three types of girls come to his place: those whose parents have died, the abandoned ones and those having single parent, but with the mother getting remarried after the death of the father.

He said that the first category was got through Panchayats while others were got after completing police formalities. He tells proudly that Asra’s two girls were dong Law, two B. Tech, one diploma and several were doing BA. “As many as 19 girls have got jobs, seven married off while one was slated to be married on 7th January in the New Year,” says 56 year old medico with a glint in his eyes.

Himself a father of a son and a daughter, Dr Harminder Singh belongs to Dhangrali village on Morinda-Kurali road. His ‘Asra’ is located in Ajit  Enclave, Randhawa Road, Kharar in district Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (Mohali).