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.
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.’
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.
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.