Monthly Archives: November 2021

Affirmation practice by the Asha team

Affirmation is quite closely linked to the value of gratitude. According to the Oxford dictionary, ‘to affirm’ means: to state or assert positively, to maintain as true. It also stands for giving a person a heightened sense of value through the experience of something emotionally or spiritually uplifting.

It is a standard practice at all Asha meetings to affirm and appreciate one another in a safe and loving environment. Everyone present is affirmed, demonstrating the love, appreciation, and respect all team members have for each other. However, our declaration of something in a person that is true requires a genuine knowing of the other. This happens when we take time to build relationships with one another, pay attention to each other’s strengths, recognize and appreciate the gifts of others, and genuinely express that recognition to one another. We can then speak the truth with conviction and knowledge, to what we know about the other. Our affirmation can be authentic, and completely devoid of flattery and manipulation.

Everyday, I see the amazing effects of affirmations on my team as well as on hundreds of slum college students, children, and others in the communities. I have seen these affirmations bring to life their capabilities, strengths, talents, and skills. Their effects penetrate so deeply that the person’s entire attitude, behavior, and actions are affected. They change the way people experience events, and they completely alter the emotional climate of relationships. The word ‘encourage’ means ‘to inspire courage’. Words of encouragement and affirmation lead to courage, and a sense of security. This brings about a vibrant expression of latent potential within us, and causes us to flourish in all the dimensions of our lives. There is no room for judgmental or guilt inducing, condemning or critical words that lead to a feeling of rejection.

There is no room for loudness or harshness. The tone and manner in which we speak is exceedingly important.

People are deeply influenced by those who affirm them, and listen to them. Being affirmed does wonders for the other person’s sense of hearing. In addition, behaviours that are rewarded and celebrated, are more likely to be repeated. Affirmation in the presence of others is also key. This means that we are giving public honour and respect for a person’s gifts, abilities, and qualities.

It is important that we affirm people on a consistent basis. Studies have found that consistent affirmation results in the muscles becoming stronger, and more active. On the other hand, the muscles tend to become weak and we feel a sense of fatigue in a negative environment.

Let us embrace affirmation as a value to be practiced everyday, and let us remember that our affirmations can have a profound impact on the lives of others. They way others experience life’s events, and relationships around them, can change forever.

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Archana successfully combats multiple health problems through Asha’s effective interventions

This is the story of 19 year old Archana who has lived in great poverty in Mayapuri slum by the railway track. Archana’s family consists of 8 members; her parents and her younger siblings. Her father is the only earning member, working as a labourer in a scrap factory in the vicinity.

From what I understand, Archana was living in the village with her relatives, and was already suffering from Bronchial Asthma that was out of control.

When the pandemic struck, her father immediately lost his job. Asha reached the doorstep of the family and provided them with groceries, funds, medicines and other essentials. Had it not been for Asha, the family would have been driven to starvation.

After a few months, Archana’s parents decided to get her home to Delhi from their village.

When she arrived, the Asha Community Health Volunteer Sumitra met her and was shocked to find her severely malnourished as well as suffering from Bronchial Asthma.

She immediately took her to the Asha clinic where the health team did her health assessment. Her weight was just 25kg, her Body Mass Index was 13. She was severely malnourished, had anemia, and Bronchial Asthma.

She was immediately put on treatment for all these conditions, and was started on the Asha Laddoo as well as the Asha Sattu.

Gradually her Bronchial Asthma came under control, and she began to gain weight. Her hemoglobin went up from 6 to 9. All her micronutrient deficiencies were corrected. She became more alert, more energetic, and more positive.

Today she weighs 38kg and her BMI has gone up to 19.

“ I thought I would never get well. I had lost all hope. The Asha family saved me. The warriors are like my brothers and sisters. I receive love and comfort from the Asha family. Thank you for all that you are doing to save my life and bring me back on the road to recovery”, says Archana.

There are hundreds of young girls like Archana. I would have to write many books to tell all their stories. But with your wonderful support and your care for the poor, they are coming out of malnutrition and starvation. What a beautiful work you are all doing. Please continue to think of these young girls as the holiday season approaches and we are all getting ready to celebrate. Let’s make sure they have plenty to eat and nice clothes to wear. May we celebrate our holidays together with the poor and spread love and light in the holiday spirit!

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Dengue claims the life of promising Asha student- Yuvraj, strengthening our resolve to fight the disease

Hi folks, there has been a new development in the past few weeks: the rise in patients who are getting Dengue Fever. This can be life threatening and there have already been about 45000 deaths from Dengue Fever in India in the past few months. These are the official figures; the actual ones are likely to be much higher.

This Fever as you may know is Viral in nature and is spread through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that bites during the day.

The symptoms are similar to that of a regular viral fever, but Dengue can turn serious if Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever develops, with rashes, bleeding, and a severely low platelet count, less than 30,000, in which case immediate hospital admission is required.

The warriors are doing Fever screening from home to home, explaining the reasons for spread, getting civic officials to undertake anti larval spraying measures in the open drains, making sure there is no stagnant water around, and encouraging the use of mosquito repellent creams.

Complete Blood Counts are done for all suspected patients, and further investigations for NS1 Dengue Virus Antigen Test are carried out.

One of our dedicated warriors Yuvraj from Ekta Vihar, suddenly died of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever a few days back. It was so tragic; he was just 22 years old, and had been working hard to fight Covid in his community as well as get 12th grade school leavers admitted to university. All of us at Asha were shocked. The entire team went to visit his family. No one knew he was ill, it all happened very quickly. We are all so very sad.

We have been making even more serious efforts to fight the disease after the passing away of Yuvraj.

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Vidya- Realising her dream to become a Nurse and serve her community

Hello folks, this is the beautiful story of Vidya from Kusumpur Pahadi slum. Her father tragically died about ten years ago and immediately after, the family went into deep financial distress. Vidya was young, and a bright student at school. However, her mother began to work as a small time helper to earn some money. This meant that Vidya had to take over all the household work when she was barely 8 years old. Then another tragedy struck. Her brother developed a mental illness and was severely incapacitated. Young Vidya found herself looking after her brother, her other siblings, and doing all the household work including cooking for the family. Her studies took a back seat. She was sad about this. She loved to learn, but hardly had any time. She wanted to become a nurse. This was her dream. She saw the nurses at the hospital serving her ailing father and wanted to serve the sick and the needy too. But she said to herself that it was impossible. She couldn’t study and her family had no money. She was reconciled to a life of poverty and poor education.

One day an Asha Ambassador came across her and they began to talk. Vidya shared her story with her. She brought Vidya to the Asha center. Vidya was overwhelmed by the IT Lab with high speed internet, the books, the resources to prepare for the school leaving exam, the mentoring and coaching provided by the Asha senior students, and the atmosphere of kindness and support.

When the pandemic struck, Vidya’s schooling went online. She of course had no smart phone, so she would come regularly to Asha to study. The Asha family encouraged Vidya not to give up her dream to become a nurse. She could do it with their help, they said! Vidya began to study really hard. She did really well in her school leaving exam, and with Asha’s support, got into the School of Nursing and Institute of Public Health and Hygiene! What an exciting day it was for her, for her family, and for all of us! It’s an expensive program, and Asha paid her tuition as well as other expenses.

Way to go Vidya! Don’t worry, we are with you and will be there for you always.

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The Sacramento Chapter of friends of Asha welcomes Dr. Kiran and Mr. Martin

Hi everyone, we had a wonderful evening yesterday at the home of Drs Praveen and Nalini Prasad in Sacramento. The Sacramento Chapter of FOA was founded by Nalini (Dermatologist) with the support of her husband Praveen (Neurosurgeon). They have been welcoming me with open hearts and hands for the past many years, and have spread the message of Asha’s vision and work far and wide in the area. Their good friend Manmohan Passi has also taken a great deal of initiative in organizing virtual events on Zoom all through the pandemic. Long-term Friends of Asha in Sacramento took the time to come to the Prasads’ home for dinner and hear all about Asha’s Covid related efforts. It was such a joy to meet them all. I felt uplifted, my spirits raised.

Nalini and Praveen Prasad, the Founders of FOA Sacramento Chapter

Manmohan Passi, one of the leaders of the Sacramento Chapter, and Board Member of Asha USA

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Dr Kiran meets friends of Asha in Napa Valley, California

Today’s post is to appreciate and thank friends of Asha in Napa Valley, California. I met the core group in Napa over dinner, after two long years. The founder of friends of Asha Napa KC Chaudhary passed away recently. His daughter Rita and her husband Jim were there and it was such a joy to meet them. Lana and David Stanley, Jim and Sandy Jones, John and Sally Zikmund, and Jeet Bhangoo the owner of Aroma Cuisine were present and gave Freddy and me a warm welcome. It was wonderful to meet Rohit and Mridula Patel and spend the night at their home.We decided to open a high-speed internet Centre at an Asha community in memory of Kailash Chaudhary who served and supported Asha through his Annual fundraiser in Napa for over 21 years.Thank you Napa for your love and your friendship. I shall cherish it always and look forward to seeing you again in 2022!

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