Dr Kiran shares positive affirmations with the entire Asha team

Last night I had a wonderful Zoom session with the entire Asha team.

I first affirmed each of them for an amazing job they have all done during the toughest of circumstances in this pandemic. On the call were not only the teams working in the slum communities, but also the finance team, communications team, admin team, and the support staff including all the drivers and the maids. All of them have worked and are continuing to work exceedingly hard.

I then spoke about:

1. The benefits of positive emotions.

2. How we can cultivate positive emotions.

Benefits. I shared that:

1. They change our outlook. They open our minds. The way we look at situations changes. We almost always find ways, we never ever quit.

2. We face our difficulties and challenges more easily. We become more resilient.

3. We see past cultural and racial differences. We see our common humanity.

4. We become more creative. We get new ideas.

5. They strengthen our relationships and develop trust. They make us look for the best in others.

6. They make us better persons. The nature we are born with can change for the better as we cultivate them.

7. They help us to make the best decisions. They give us wisdom when there are tough choices to make.

8. They lower anxiety, worry, and mental disturbances.

What a wonderful list of scientifically proven benefits.

Next I shared with them on how we can cultivate positive emotions:

Cultivating them is not easy. It requires daily practice, and then it becomes a habit.

We must:

1. Surround ourselves with more positive people than negative.

2. Practise Affirmation exercises with family, friends, and co-workers. ( I have taught them these exercises before)

3. Consciously fill our minds with good thoughts, so there is no room for negative thoughts. Our brains cannot hold positive and negative thoughts together.

4. Create an environment of Joy.

5. Practice Gratitude exercises.

6. Look for the good in others and validate them rather than criticize them.

7. Guard our tone, our voice, our tongue, being quick to listen and slow to speak.

We can either languish from day to day, or we can flourish and live life fully!

Immediately following on from the Zoom meeting, the teams began to celebrate and practice in many ways.

They cooked and ate together, affirmed one another, made expressions of gratitude, everyone on the teams coming together. And they told me they had a wonderful time and felt so energized. They felt like loving more, and being more compassionate. They found that the problems they had magnified in their minds, felt small. There was fun and laughter in the slum communities in the midst of the pandemic.

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Dr Kiran Martin, Founder & Director of Asha Society speaks to Amanda Clegg

This pandemic has been cruel to so many. The slums in Delhi have been some of the hardest hit.

Hear Dr Kiran Martin talk about the plight of the women and children in these communities in this newly recorded zoom interview with Friends of Asha (GB) Trustee, Amanda Clegg.

Please share this link and spread the message to others, as the need for funds for food and medicines is very great.

Click to donate: https://bit.ly/2tFvdy3

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True success lies in the community coming together and showing love

In the midst of all the distress and discouragement during this pandemic, I have been impressing upon the Asha family to constantly create a force field of love. A tone of love. An aura of love. Why? Because long term negative emotional states destroy our health and are soul stultifying. On the other hand, love brings warmth, compassion, and emotional depth. It casts out negative emotions, which need to be driven away because they don’t leave on their own.

A force field of love protects us from fear, because love is stronger than fear. Love helps people not to be disheartened and lose faith. Love enables us to return from adversity and setbacks with renewed energy.

When the roots of our beings are watered with love, it gives us manifold strengths, and creates miracles in the midst of common tasks.

It is within the sphere of love that we live best. Where there is love, there is life.

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Dr Kiran celebrates her birthday with the Asha family in Safedi Basti slum colony

I had one of the most wonderful birthdays of my life at Safeda Basti slum colony today. The young and old, women and men, boys and girls, all gathered together to wish me, bless me, love me. I cut a cake in one of their homes the entrance of which they decorated with balloons.

I then proceeded to give them food parcels and we all agreed that we would have a hearty meal tonight wherever we are, brothers and sisters in the Asha family, united by our love for one another.

I came home from the slum community to find over 1000 cards waiting for me made by boys and girls, young adults, women and men, and the elderly from all Asha communities. They were filled with messages of blessings, of love, of gratitude, of hope for a friendship that lasts forever.

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Reflections on Hope: Dr Kiran

This is a season of one of the greatest challenges the world has ever faced. It may be a time to fight, a time to question, a time to mourn, but there is always one thing we can hold on to, Hope. Asha. Where there is life, there is hope. Hope will see us through our challenges. They will not dictate our destiny. Hope will. There is great strength in optimism. Let us surround ourselves with positive people who speak words of encouragement. This is not a permanent thing, we will surely get out of these troubles. Hope brings light into the darkest places we never thought will have light. That’s been my experience all through life. Let’s think of the challenges we have faced in the past, and have overcome them. Fear is a big hindrance to hope. Let’s give doubt and fear less room in our hearts to breathe. Hope is a beautiful thing. It gives us peace and strength, and keeps us going when all seems lost. Hope is the only thing stronger than fear. Hope is Asha.

**DONATE FOR ASHA’S COVID-19 EMERGENCY RESPONSE: https://bit.ly/2tFvdy3 **

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Birthday Reflections by Dr Kiran Martin

My dear friends,

It gives me great joy to write to you on the eve of my 58th birthday, particularly because I am delighted that the High School students from Asha slum communities have received outstanding results that have surpassed all my expectations. An 18 year old young boy called Prince who lives in Mayapuri slum colony has topped the Asha batch with 93% and scored 100% marks in History. He tells me that he crosses the railway line that runs outside his shack to go to the toilet in the open, everyday. He studies all night because he just can’t concentrate with trains passing by his shack every few minutes during the day. He tells me he uses ear plugs to try and drown out the deafening sound. His father is an illiterate manual labourer who has been carrying bricks to construction sites all his life. And then there’s Hari Om from Tigri, whose father is a roadside cobbler and an alcoholic. He has endured so much financial hardship that the family has been living on rent in a slum shack for the past 13 years. He has scored a stunning 90.7% overall with 92% in Economics. Devinder’s mother sells lemons and green chilis from street to street in her slum, in a basket she carries over her head. With hope in his eyes he tells me that he has scored 90.7% with 95% in Geography, and it is his passion to read Geography in an Honours Programme at Delhi University. Pinky’s story brought tears to my eyes because its so similar to my own. Her mother died when she was just 7 years old, after which her father remarried. He and her step mother have abandoned her, and she lives with her old grandmother. She told me she couldn’t count the number of times she has gone to bed after just a cup of tea or a glass of lemon water for dinner. She has scored 84.5% and she was sobbing uncontrollably when I put my arms around her and promised her that her dream of going to university would certainly come true. These are but a few examples among hundreds of young people who have done brilliantly inspite of living in the kind of hardship that you and I might find difficult to comprehend.

As the children were encouraged and inspired at every step of their journey by the Asha team and Ambassadors, I shared with them that it was important to be ambitious. I reminded them that ambition, the desire to achieve something, requires both energy and goals to succeed. We may have plenty of energy but no goals. We may pursue one opportunity after another without success, and wonder what it is that we want out of life. On the other hand, we may have goals, but not enough energy, and we may find ourselves wanting to achieve success, but quit when the work becomes too hard or too much. I shared some stories of great people who had failed so many times but embraced their failures and saw them as learning experiences. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, attempted to create many light bulbs before he developed one that actually worked. And he said: “ I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. “

At this stage of my life, as Asha will soon enter its 30th year, I believe every slum child needs a champion, someone who will never give up on them, and who insists that they become the best that they can possibly be. Someone who will affirm them and praise them for their inner qualities, so that they will strive to contribute to the world in meaningful ways. Someone who will protect and defend them, be proud of them, and love them unconditionally. May we connect with every child in ways that help them to flourish in all the dimensions of their lives and to be the very best versions of themselves.

As hundreds of students are seeking to get into university at the end of this month, it is my hope that not one of them will be disappointed or turned away from financial support. I look to the global Asha family once again at this time, believing that we are all in this vision together, and that each one of us will play our part in transforming the lives of our slum children. You will shortly receive an appeal from the Asha Team that describes the details. I am deeply grateful to you for the many ways in which you have supported and encouraged me as I am about to enter the 59th year of my life.

With all my good wishes!

Kiran Martin



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Practising Joy this Easter

The word I am reflecting on these days is ‘Joy’, specially as we draw close to the wonderful festival of Easter that symbolises Fullness of Joy and Abundant Life in Christ. The word ‘Abundant’ in Greek is ‘perisson’, meaning exceeding, very highly, beyond measure, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate. What a wonderful picture of life in its fullness, and what a contrast to a life filled with emptiness and dissatisfaction!

But how do I experience Joy when a slum lord forces his way into an Asha centre, has a party on the rooftop, and gets drunk? How do I experience Joy when a student whom I love and give my all to, betrays me? What happens to Joy when trusted and loyal partners of many years let me down?

In my experience, Joy is not a temporary feeling of pleasure or happiness. Rather, Joy is a sense of constant wellbeing, a continuous journey of flourishing. I experience Joy when I live in harmony with my spiritual laws. When my thoughts, feelings, and actions are honourable. When I have a quiet and peaceful conscience. When I consistently live my life in accordance with my highest sense of right.

True joy has made me more resilient, and helped me to transcend the hardest of situations with an inner serenity.

May we all engage with our lives in ways that inspire us and give us true Joy. With my very best wishes for a Happy Easter.

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New Year wishes, 2017

What joy it gives me to have the opportunity to once again bring you my warm greetings for a Happy New Year!

2017 will be for us at Asha a year filled with exciting possibilities. The Asha Ambassadors in the slum communities whose lives have been transformed through their educational opportunities, are now ready to reach out to young people from slums all over the city! They have already begun visiting so many slums with the good news that the lives of the young people there are going to change forever. Slums where this news has never been heard or received, slums where the hope of a better life has never been experienced. The Ambassadors are also visiting the neighbouring local public schools to look for bright children living in poverty, with the goal of inspiring them to dream big and work hard to transform their circumstances.

The word that I am going to lay hold of as we enter 2017 is ‘Inspiration’. It comes from the Latin ‘inspirare’ meaning ‘to breathe into’. What a wonderful word! It is a beautiful contagion that passes through individuals. Bringing about a new way of seeing. Raising the sense of possibility in others. Motivating others to be brave enough to take steps towards something truly great. It is like a burst of energy, like the wind blowing through the window of the mind and the spirit, that then take flight.

My desire for 2017 is that my team and I are a source of inspiration for these young people. May they believe that the beauty and goodness within them can awaken them to greater and nobler possibilities. May a power greater than them burst forth deep in their unconscious, bringing about a new way of seeing and believing.

Let us all lay hold of this word in the New Year, remembering that those who are open to inspiration are more likely to experience it. Let us recognise its sheer power and potency to bring about a revolution in our lives.

My older daughter was named ‘Prerna’ which in Hindi means ‘ Inspiration’, and it is to her that I dedicate this reflection.

My team and I will need your support more than ever as we launch out into the deep in the New Year. It is with gratitude and good wishes that I end my blog.

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Asha communities setting brilliant examples

You may have heard that on November 9th, the Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi announced that the currency of 500 and 1000 rupee notes had been demonetised, and will no longer be valid. His government took this decision in order to fight corruption and black money in India. Since then, ordinary Indian citizens have been queuing up outside banks for many hours daily in an effort to change their old notes for valid currency. Over 80% of India’s economy being a cash economy, unlike in developed countries, and with millions of Indians outside the banking system, this has caused much distress among the poor, most of whom belong to the informal sector and are on daily wages. The government is making every effort to deal with this crisis that will take time to ease due to the huge population needing cash for their daily lives.


Source: PTI

In the midst of all this chaos, I heard amazing stories in the Asha communities that I was deeply touched by. Stories of neighbours helping each other with cash that is so rare, people displaying untold generosity towards each other, community members standing with each other and supporting one another, and people still displaying good cheer and optimism through this period of adversity. And all this without any respect for religion, caste, gender, colour, or status at a time when boundaries and walls are defining the perspective of vast numbers of people all over the world.


What a wonderful example the members of Asha communities set for us all! May we see equal worth and significance in every human being, and may we display the highest standard of generosity and kindness as we watch them in action during one of the most trying times in India.

Here are a few glimpses from my visit…




With the wonderful Asha team!

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Dr. Kiran’s Meeting With Ambassador of Ireland HE Brian McElduff

Dr. Kiran with HE Brian McElduff, Irish Embassy

Dr. Kiran expressed her gratitude of meeting the Ambassador of Ireland to India HE Brian McElduff-
It was a delight to meet with the new Ambassador of Ireland to India HE Brian McElduff this morning. We spoke of the long standing relationship between Ireland and Asha, going back about 20 years. He was really pleased to hear of the various activities of Friends of Asha (Ireland), particularly the relationship with the various Irish schools and churches. He is keenly looking forward to meeting with the school teams in October, and has offered to host them at his residence.
The Irish Embassy has been hosting Asha interns since 2012, and many have gone on to getting really good jobs. He met with Rekha who is currently interning at the Visa Section. He was also glad to hear Usha’s story, and congratulated her on her achievements in Australia.

Thank you Your Excellency for taking out the time to meet with us.

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