Monthly Archives: November 2020

Asha Mahila Mandal in Seelampur transform their community

I received great joy from being welcomed with love and warmth by the residents of Seelampur.

As I walked along the main road inside the slum towards the Asha Centre, I saw the huge difference the covering of the large open drain had made. The open drain was always filled with sewerage and solid waste, and was the source of diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, malaria, dengue, hepatitis, and a host of other illnesses. The Asha Mahila Mandal in the community deserves full credit for this major task accomplished; getting an open drain covered after years of perseverance.

They have also got the huge open garbage disposal site at the entrance to the slum covered, and the garbage inside is now mechanically disposed of.

Congratulations to the Seelampur Mahila Mandal for these remarkable achievements. They are truly empowered to transform their communities.

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Reflections on Leadership

Today, I want to share with you some reflections on Leadership, and the types of leadership that
are helping us to successfully strategize, implement, and see the impact of our efforts on Asha communities, especially during this pandemic.

I truly believe that the effectiveness of our efforts is directly attributable to the strength of our leadership.

Talent and skill among leaders is very important. But, the most important demonstrations of our leadership qualities are the ways in which we love, we serve, and our authenticity, solidity, and personal substance.

Our leadership calls for loving attention to every member of the team, their nature, their gifts, their needs, and their motivations. They are precious people, and they must be given full support, and shown kindness at all times. Their problems must be listened to and heard with empathy. Each team member must be affirmed and appreciated. As Asha leaders, we must create an environment of safety and security for each team member. An atmosphere of trust creates wonderful bonds between co-workers. There is then no room for politics or gossip.

We must necessarily lead by example, demonstrating compassion and courage in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

Boundless energy, passion, and an optimism rooted in reality will gain leaders many supporters who when empowered, will carry Hope and Asha, to the farthest corners of every Asha community.’

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Asha warriors take personal care of the Elderly in the slums

The elderly under our care are in great distress at this time. These pictures speak volumes on the poverty they are living in. Run down homes, little to eat, little to wear, sickness, frailty, inability to take care of themselves. Lonely, abandoned and forgotten by their families. So much emotional pain.

What a wonderful source of solace, comfort and help our Warriors are. Each Warrior is given the responsibility of an Elderly person. They visit them every single day. And how the elderly look forward to their daily visits.

I feel that there is a lot more I must do for them. I will consult all around and then expand my work. They must be given a lot of love, and must live in comfort and with dignity.

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The power of touch in Asha communities

One of the greatest challenges the Asha family is facing during this pandemic is the physical distancing needed between people. The language of touch is not being spoken these days, and it’s joys seem lost for a while.

Affectionate and loving hugs have been a hallmark of the Asha family. The power of touch has created an environment of safety and trust. It has spread tremendous amount of goodwill and fostered cooperative relationships in Asha communities everywhere.

Touch has the power to soothe, to express compassion, to calm down stress, and to produce generosity.

Hugging boosts self esteem and brings about a sense of security in a way no words can. Hugging stirs the soul. Sometimes only the language of touch can fully express what we feel.

May the joys of this wonderful language soon be restored to us all, and may we learn to cherish it more than ever.

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The transformational stories of young Asha students in various slum communities

I hope you have been enjoying the wonderful transformational stories of our young people from the Asha slum communities who are at university.

These and hundreds of other stories are really a tribute to each one of you.

Together we have created opportunities for much better health, much higher income levels, development of a vast variety of skills, and dream careers. We have created opportunities for our young people to grow and expand their minds, and experiment with what they are passionate about.

Their communication skills, critical thinking skills, sense of discipline, and productivity, have all grown by leaps and bounds.

The benefits of higher education to entire communities is clearly visible, and bring me much joy. The communities are much healthier with higher life expectancies. Many have been able to break free from the cycle of poverty. The strong are lifting up the weak. They are politically aware, are good citizens, and highly involved in civic affairs. Child marriage has gone down dramatically, age at marriage has advanced, and women are seen as equal partners with men, rather than just future wives and mothers.

May this movement grow to reach thousands upon thousands of young people, and transform the entire landscape of the Asha communities, forever liberating them from the distress and sorrows of poverty.

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A warm tribute to late Ms Ruth McKibbin

Hello folks, today’s posts are dedicated to the Late Ms Ruth McKibbin who spent over 20 years bringing teams of pupils from Methodist College Belfast from out to the Kalkaji slum community every 18 months. She was dearly loved by everyone at Kalkaji: the Asha team, university students and school pupils alike. What a wonderful legacy she created at Asha over the years.

Here is the story of Shiva who was a part of the Asha Children’s Group at Kalkaji since a young age. He learnt a lot from Ruth and the Methodist teams that would spend time with him and other children during their visits. Ruth would have been so proud of his achievements.

Shiva lives in a tiny two room home with his family in Kalkaji slum. His father has been working as a daily wage laborer at construction sites for over 30 years.

During the pandemic, Shiva’s father lost all work, and then developed Covid. At first he was quarantined at home, but his condition deteriorated, and he had to get admitted to a public hospital. He was really ill, and for a time the family thought he wouldn’t make it. Fortunately he recovered after a prolonged hospital stay and finally came home.

You can imagine how hard it might have been for Shiva to focus on studying for his school leaving exams with the tremendous worry of his father’s health.

Asha stood with Shiva, providing groceries for the family regularly, and giving Shiva all the support and mentoring he needed to take his exams. He would study at the Asha Centre, a place that has been lovingly been created by the pupils of Methody.

Shiva scored an amazing 91.2%, much to our delight!

It was impossible for Shiva’s family to fund his university education.

With Asha’s full support, Shiva has secured a place in a Bachelors in Commerce Honours program at the prestigious Kirorimal College of Delhi University.

Thank you Ruth for your loving service of many years to the poor of Kalkaji. I’m sure you are smiling from above.

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