Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Asha’s Founder Dr Kiran Martin speaks on Dignity in the Slums of Delhi 

I have recorded a video on one of Asha’s most important values, that of Dignity, specially in the context of the poor. Thank you for listening.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Malnourishment and increased disease risk amongst girls and women – The pandemic effect

Hello folks, this message is about the very sad circumstances some young girls are during this pandemic. They have lost so much weight due to just not eating enough food and calories. We give groceries to entire families, but of course have no control over how they are used.

These girls are exhausted all the time, cannot concentrate on their studies and fall sick frequently. I was sad to see some of them falling prey to Tuberculosis due to greatly reduced immunity. The burden of household work and filling water and carrying it back home mostly falls on their shoulders. They are the last to eat, after feeding their entire family.

We call them to the Asha centres everyday for high protein laddoos and drinks, run a weekly clinic for them where we provide them with all essential vitamins and minerals, as well as treat their ailments promptly. One girl vomited out a ton of worms when we dewormed her. She had worms coming out of her nose as well.

They really struggle with going to the public toilet where there is voyeurism. They have no money for sanitary pads.

We are giving them these feminine products regularly. Here are some pictures of these girls and women. There are hundreds of them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Telehealth clinics in Asha slum communities

I have been doing regular clinics on Zoom at the various Asha centres. I use the opportunity to train Asha nurses who take turns to be on these telehealth clinics. Patients have also got used to the laptop and the headphones. Patients come in large numbers with all kinds of acute and chronic conditions. Free investigations and treatment is being given to all. Referrals are made to hospitals through our linkages as necessary. Patients just cannot pay for health care during these days of financial crisis. I have expanded our pharmacy so that patients do not have to buy drugs from pharmacies outside. All drugs provided are from the best companies and generic as much as possible. I am really happy at how well our nurse practitioners are continuously being trained and can provide General Practice level care without the intervention of doctors in most cases. They are such keen learners, and are get excited when they are able to run GP clinics independently. I am proud of them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized