Asha Update

Written by | Charity

( We appreciate that some readers will be experiencing economic hardships and that our wider Wallace family has already donated generously to our visor appeal. Equally, we are aware that other readers may be able and willing to help those who are enduring immense hardship in India. Asha genuinely transforms lives and we are proud of our association with the charity. Please help if you can.)

Lockdown in Mayapuri

What have been some of your lockdown lows? Queuing at Tesco’s ( other stores are available) whilst fretting if there would be toilet roll, disinfectant and hand sanitiser? Wondering why someone might agonise over selecting one bag of oranges over another? Squabbling over the devices in the house?

Flippancy set aside, for all of us lockdown will have been characterised by genuine feelings of loss as we miss family, friends and freedom. Some readers may have experienced the grief of bereavement and the additional sorrows generated by the restrictions on funerals and gatherings. Many are experiencing very substantial anxieties about the stability of employment or about the dangers of returning to employment. In all of these situations, complex as they are, we have the benefit of living in a society which provides its citizens with substantial support.

How is lockdown in one of the poorest places in the world?

As a country India has vast social inequalities and our legacy charity Asha is working amongst some of the world’s poorest people. Its workers and volunteers, like so many people here in Northern Ireland, are courageously placing themselves at risk to help others. In a recent email to Wallace’s Principal, Mrs Deborah O’Hare, Asha founder Dr Kiran Martin shared her experiences:

“I visited Mayapuri last week, and was heartbroken at what I saw. Most residents had no money and no food because of the loss of work. Cooked food is distributed by the local government authorities; and people have to stand in long lines for three hours in the scorching heat to get a bowl of rice and lentils. We had given Grocery Bags and Child Nutrition Kits as well as financial assistance some weeks before I visited. As I sat through the baby clinic, I was sad to find that the otherwise healthy children under five years of age had become malnourished because of lack of food.

I personally met widows, the disabled, women with young children, the elderly and others who did not have even one rupee in their pockets. I gave them grocery bags and financial help. The area is so large, and there are many needs that I have still not been able to meet.”

The work in Mayapuri is continuing as Asha volunteers deliver food parcels, masks and child nutrition support packs. The link at the bottom of the article shows some of the work in detail. A small number of staff and pupils in our Wallace family have had the privilege of seeing the work of Asha at first hand but many others have contributed to the tens of thousands raised since the first school visit in 2014. We feel a close kinship to this inspiring work which coincidentally shares our motto of hope. If you feel you can make a donation, no matter how small, to the charity in these days of  world-wide pandemic please do so by the Friends of Asha ( Ireland) page here.

Last modified: June 4, 2020