Sisters Of Hope

This picture project is particularly aiming to document the life, contribution in fighting with pandemic and distress in working as a community health care worker (ASHA) in India. There are approximately a million women healthcare workers working as ASHA. The picture story will help to better understand, how the ASHA are working in unsafe conditions at the forefront, the workload they are carrying out and how they are suffering from the distress. Many of them have faced abusive treatment by anti-social elements, torture in their duty. After finishing her duty, she is worried about coming home to the unseen enemy, the Corona Virus. Many of them joined the work despite the loss of their family members to COVID-19. They are risking their lives for society with an uncertain future. The project aims to bring out the stories of ASHA workers who were the victim of abuse, discrimination and lost their family member to Covid-19.
 The ASHA workers are fighting the pandemic with poor Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), very basic amenities, Covid-19 workload along with non COVID19 work. ASHA’s contribution is helping and catalyzing the government to fight COVID19. In return what ASHA workers are protesting regularly for their demands such as a hike in salary, regulation of their service, benefits of insurance, compensation and medical benefits for their families. In a recent announcement by the chief minister of Maharashtra, ASHA workers have to constrain the COVID spread amongst the children.
ASHA is contributing as if a ray of hope in this presidential time. They are working relentlessly with other medical professionals without proper training in COVID-19. ASHA community healthcare workers are proving to true to the meaning of their name in the Hindi language.
ASHA -Ray of Hope
ASHA -Sister of Hope 

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) launched in 2005 started by the Government of India’s Ministry of health and family welfare designed the role and post of Accredited Social Health Worker (ASHA). According to the state government of Maharashtra report of 31 March 2019, a total of 60794 ASHA workers reported. The total number of ASHA workers in India is approximately one Million.

Neeta Kashid, ASHA worker performing her routine duty in Mhasave village, Kolhapur. Initially, the ASHA profile was designed to promote healthcare awareness, nutrition, basic sanitation & hygienic practices, healthy living and working conditions, information on existing health services, and the need for timely utilization of health & family welfare services. The number of work assigned to ASHA was fifty, but it went on more than 200 tasks in the last decade. They were paid on an incentive basis approximately 40 to 50 USD for a month including COVID-19 tasks. 

Since March 2020 the time changed and ASHA workers played a key role in reporting, surveying, medication, counselling, stamping, medical screening to filing reports in different forms. Approximate 1 million ASHA workers served as the real frontline fighters in this pandemic. 

An ASHA worker collecting the blood sample in the rural parts of Kolhapur. ASHA the community health workers were not trained for the COVID-19 tasks but asked to do every job which was the need for the hour at the frontline.

ASHA Union CITU claims that door to door survey about comorbid patients, temperature and oxygen level screening was not possible without the help of ASHA workers. 

Jyoti Taware, an ASHA carrying out the monthly child vaccination camp in the afternoon at a temple after conducting door to door covid-19 survey in the morning at Pachgaon, Kolhapur. She is feeling afraid of serving child vaccination after her risky Covid-19 duty.

Neeta Kashid from Mhasave primary health center broke out when she was mishandled by anti-social elements. She was carrying surveys in her village in May 2020 but a family refused to provide information and she was beaten up. She rushed to the police station and filed a complaint against the family. Only Kolhapur district unfortunately observed approximate five police complaints filed by ASHA in the last year. The number of mishandling might be huge.

A bunch of survey reports of a cluster from Kolhapur district shows how much work the ASHA workers carried out in the last year. ASHA union claims that they have followed each guideline but they are kept away from proper safety kits, insurance, recognition as government employees, relevant remuneration for huge workload, benefits of the government employee.

ASHA workers union CITU organizes a monthly meeting to understand the issues. ASHA workers union claims that around one million Asha workers are deployed but not recognized as healthcare employees by the government. The community health care workers have been engaged in Covid-19 groundwork since March 2020 and paid an incentive-based salary of approximately fifty US dollars. The Asha union is also demanding safety kits along with insurance as they are risking their lives in front of the Corona battle from day one.

CITU ASHA workers union has 3135 members in the Kolhapur district across 91 primary health centers. ASHA union Kolhapur district president Mrs. Netradeepa Patil discussing major issues in a monthly meeting in Kolhapur. 

ASHA union CITU Kolhapur chapter protests in Kolhapur for their various demands on 11 September 2019. 

ASHA union recently carried out a protest on 24 May 2021 at Zilha Parishad office for their demands, such as implementing new pay scales, benefits of CORONA frontline worker. 


ASHA union recently carried out a protest on 24 May 2021 at Zilha Parishad office for their demands, such as implementing new pay scales, benefits of CORONA frontline worker.

ASHA workers were undertaken collectively by Police after their protests. The Union is fighting for their rights by all means. 

ASHA workers are working around 10-12 hours every day in unsafe working conditions with minimal compensation. They are also dealing with various misbeliefs about COVID-19 and Vaccination. They keep working if they are kept unpaid for several months. Every day they are under threat of bringing home the enemy virus but they still keep working for sake of society. The Union says apart from this all ASHA workers are always kept in distress.