Asha Community enjoying benefits of Dancing

Hello everyone, these days I have been studying the scientific and health benefits of Dancing, and I am encouraging everyone in the Asha communities to Dance!

While there are hundreds of articles on the health benefits of dancing, I am sending a link to this one from Harvard Medical School called Dancing and the Brain.

Brain Science clearly demonstrates the various centers that are stimulated when we dance. Here are some of the amazing benefits:

  • increased levels of the feel good hormone Serotonin
  • release of endorphins, relieving stress and anxiety
  • improved condition of your -heart and lungs
  • increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • increased aerobic fitness
  • improved muscle tone and strength
  • stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • improved balance and spatial awareness
  • increased physical confidence
  • improved mental functioning
  • improved general and psychological wellbeing

Here is a video link of Dancing in the Asha Slums!

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Asha Alumni organized at Asha Head Office

After a long break because of Covid-19, the Asha Alumni meet was organized on 11th June’2022 at Asha HO. There was laughter and excitement when more than fifty bright young boys and girls who have built promising careers in multi-national corporates and other world-class organizations in responsible positions met each other. After the initial euphoria and nostalgia of meeting each other after a long time, there was a brief catch-up, and everyone went for a trip down the memory lane and exchanged notes on their journey so far. The business end of the meeting started with a small introduction given by each alumnus sharing information about their organisation, work, experiences and the professional excellence they have gained with the support of Asha.

The alumni gave several constructive ideas on how they can contribute to enriching future Asha students’ lives with their experience and skills. Many Alumni members self-volunteered to sponsor higher education of at least 1-2 students in their communities and teach them Asha values. It was decided that each Alumni will open a small chapter of Alumni in their respective communities and conduct activities to enhance the impact and reach. There was also a suggestion from some Alumni members that they will connect with younger students and mentor them in English speaking, Soft skills training, Career Guidance and Personality Development. Finally, all the Alumni members shared lunch and a round of fun-filled games, which they enjoyed. It was decided that the Alumni meet will be a regular feature in Asha’s programme calendar.

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Asha Warriors and Students expresses Gratitude to the Principal of the local Public School

The warriors and students of another Asha community decided to visit the principal of the local public school for the primary purpose of expressing gratitude to her for her cooperation and goodwill. The security guard just wouldn’t allow them to enter. They persevered, communicated well, used non violence, and finally he agreed to give the business card of Shiv to the Principal. She gladly invited the group to her office. She was surprised to learn that so many students were studying at Delhi University. Students who study at govt run public schools generally do not ever go to University. She was furthermore taken aback when the Asha team had a Gratitude expression session with her. The atmosphere was filled with joy and a stronger desire to collaborate and help the poor students living in our slums!

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Practicing Gratitude in Asha slum communities

Hello everyone, Here’s a beautiful story to share with you. Dr Alka is the Medical Officer in charge of a government health center in Peeragarhi. The entire Asha team and volunteers expressed their Gratitude to her for constantly collaborating with Asha in various health care programs. She was absolutely delighted, and relationships were strengthened like never before.

Elsewhere, in the spirit of the equal dignity and worth of all, they thanked the sweeper who cleans the toilets. They invited him to the Centre and garlanded him, expressing heartfelt gratitude and joy for his service. He seemed taken aback, as you will see from the pictures! Nobody had ever garlanded him before. Giving honor and respect, and affirming everyone, are powerful values.

In yet another powerful demonstration of Gratitude, the entire team went for a visit to the Municipal Councillor of the area to thank him for his service. What a wonderful visit it was!

He was filled with keenness and enthusiasm to do more, and promised the community he would always be at their service.

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Central Universities Entrance Test (CUET) registration at Asha slum communities

A new and worrisome development has taken place in the Delhi University admissions process. Previous admissions were on the basis of marks obtained in the school leaving board exam. That has all changed. There will now be a separate Central Universities Entrance Test (CUET) the results of which will determine the admission of a student.

The registration process for this test is really quite complicated and it is virtually impossible for a year 12 student from a slum to complete such a complex application on their own. The registration fee is also high.

The deadline for the registration is May 22. Thereafter the students will have to receive separate coaching for this entrance exam. The pattern is new, and none of us knows enough about it. We will have to find new ways of coaching our students and getting them exam ready. At the moment they are focusing on the board exam. They can only begin preparing for CUET when those are over.

At this time, CUET registrations are going on in all Asha communities. There is a lot of resistance from students and parents. Students feel too afraid and insecure about preparing to attempt for this new exam.

Asha has paid the full registration fees for almost all the students. These are separate from the university fees that will need to be paid every year once the students are in.

The Asha team and I are quite worried about the uncertainties related to this process. We are hoping that we can enable our students to shine in this new exam!

Here are some pictures of CUET registration going on in all Asha slum communities.

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Governing board member of Australian Friends of Asha visits Chanderpuri with his team

Hello everyone, what a wonderful day it was today. Our dearly beloved Harish Rao, a long time friend and governing board member of Friends of Asha Australia brought along 3 of his Australian friends Phil, Chris and Adam, to Asha’s Chanderpuri center this afternoon.

They braved the heat, and spent a wonderful time engaging with the members not only of Chanderpuri, but many other Asha slum communities within a radius of about 5km, where we carry out various programs.

Among many other members, they met prospective students who Asha has begun preparing to go to Australia in the coming two years.

Enthusiastic interactions with the women’s association members who shared many stories, including how they suffered so much during Covid and received all help from Asha.

Visiting the IT Lab

Students were attending online classes, doing their homework and assignments, using you tube resources to learn English, and much more

Seeing a clinic in action

With our wonderful students, including many who are in the preparatory phase of traveling to Australia for a Masters. Sunny, Juhi, Parvez and Fazia will hopefully reach Australia by 2023/2024.

Chris Elstoft and Amitava: you have both been working so hard with these students, and today it was exciting to witness their enthusiasm. I am sure they will be in Australia not long from now, under your leadership. What a wonderful movement!

Our friends visiting the tiny homes of community members and taking in the surroundings

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Dr Bhavdeep Gupta visits Asha

Hello everyone, we received our first visitor to Asha on 14th March after 2 years! Dr Bhavdeep Gupta is my friend from medical school days and now lives in the US. There was much joy as the Seelampur Team welcomed him with warmth, and shared their stories with him. We are hoping that you will begin to make your way to Delhi soon and visit us. We look forward very much to receiving you.

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Visit of MAMC-1977 Batch to Asha’s Mayapuri Centre

It was a memorable day for the Asha family when Dr Kiran’s batchmates from Maulana Azad Medical College- 1977 batch; eminent doctors in their respective areas of specialization visited Asha’s Mayapuri centre on 23rd April’2022. After a warm welcome with garlands at the centre, Dr Kiran personally greeted her old friends, who have known and associated with her for over 45 years and escorted them to the Meeting room.

The interactions started with the young bright college students narrating their life’s challenges and hardships since the beginning of their educational journey and how they successfully overcame them with Asha’s continuous support and entered the hallowed premises of the prestigious Delhi University to pursue their educational journey. They also shared their experience of Internship and Internship at top-notch MNCs, Embassies and High Commissions which gave them invaluable exposure to the world-class workplace environment and built a solid foundation for their future careers. Dr Kiran explained to the guests about Asha’s Higher Education programme and how the Asha team brought about the mindset changes amongst the students, their families and the community and transformed the students’ lives through education.  One student Abhishek, who has just completed his Master’s Programme at the prestigious University of Sydney narrated his experience of International Education and how he got a good placement on his return to India. There were also other prospective students who Asha has begun to prepare for International Education in the coming two years. The visitors listened to the life-changing stories of the students with rapt attention and asked relevant questions. Dr Kiran’s moderation made the discussion lively, exciting and engrossing.

The visitors went to the IT Labs and saw how the IT Lab provided critical support to the students in their educational journey and how it had become a lifeline for the Asha student, especially during the pandemic. They saw how the students were attending online classes, doing their homework and assignments, using YouTube resources to learn English and much more.

After the students, it was the turn of the empowered ladies of Asha’s Women’s Group to narrate their stories of transformation. They started by describing the conditions of the area when they started their journey at Mayapuri, the internal and external battles they faced and how an association with Asha changed their destiny. They also described their suffering during Covid and how Asha’s support helped them to get their lives back on track. The ladies shared their experience of practicing Asha values and how they could overcome the differences of caste, creed and religion and develop the spirit of unity.  These women generated respect and admiration from their community and had become leaders in their own rights. Their powerful tales of changing their lives with grit, determination and hard work drew spontaneous applause from the visitors and moved them.

After the students and the women, Dr Kiran showed the guests Asha’s Healthcare programme and how the patients were treated with meticulous planning, compassion and care. Dr Kiran explained Asha’s Healthcare Programme and the functioning of the 3-Tier Healthcare Model and the treatment procedures in detail and also explained how different patient cards are maintained as part of the robust record-keeping system. She introduced, Rama- Asha’s Senior Nurse Practitioner and how she saved lives during the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic. The eminent doctors listened to Dr Kiran with focused attention and the admiration and respect were evident in their eyes. Dr Kiran also showed them Asha’s medical room and they were highly impressed by the stock of quality branded medicines which was dispensed free to the poor, vulnerable and needy slum patients. The visitors were also briefed about the range and the coverage of Asha’s Healthcare programmes starting with Maternal and Newborn Health, Child Healthcare, Reproductive Health and Family Planning, Geriatric Care, and Chronic Disease Management Programme. Finally, the guests saw a glimpse of the Ladoo and Sattoo programme, Asha’s unique healthcare support to curb the rising cases of Malnutrition and Anaemia amongst women and children of the slum community during the pandemic. The programme has been vetted by Harvard Medical School.

Finally, Dr Kiran led the team on a community visit across the Railway line to show guests the actual living conditions of the community and their fight for survival. The guests entered the houses of a few community members and interacted with them. The eminent doctors were moved by seeing the challenges facing them and how they were overcome.

In the end, to make the occasion memorable, a special cake cutting ceremony was organized which touched all the doctors as a gesture of love and affection. They wished Dr Kiran all success in her mission to transform the lives of the slum community.

Mentioning, one feedback received, “Witnessed how our dear Kiran has transformed neglected lives and given a great momentum towards emancipation, education and dignity.  Joy and happiness were palpable as were the dreams and conviction in the eyes of the kids, the women and the team Asha. One of the most meaningful evenings we had. Salute to them.”

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Dr Kiran Martin, Founder and Director of Asha speaks on Compassion and the Practice of Medicine

Hello everyone, in this video I have spoken about the great importance of Compassion in Health Care and it’s wonderful outcomes in patients. There is a Compassion crisis in Healthcare systems worldwide. I have addressed the scientific basis of compassion and how it helps in health and healing.

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Asha communities enjoy Hindi video on Dignity by Dr Kiran

Groups in various Asha communities are enjoying my Hindi video on Dignity. They felt respected, loved, and excited about continuing to work hard to reclaim their lost dignity.

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