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Asha Ireland: Asha Celebrating 25 Years

Asha Ireland: Asha Celebrating 25 Years

Friends of Asha (Ireland) chose Ballymena as the venue to celebrate this landmark occasion on Saturday 16th November. Dr. Kiran and Freddy Martin were welcomed to the Borough by the Mayoress, Audrey Wales MBE, at a reception with local dignitaries, where Dr. Kiran gave a summary of her 25 years with some of the poorest people.

The beautiful Welington Presbyterian Church with Asha supporters from Ireland and UK in attendance

The beautiful Welington Presbyterian Church with Asha supporters from Ireland and UK in attendance

Later on, Wellington Presbyterian Church was the venue for a buffet reception for around 150 Friends of Asha from various parts of Ireland and, afterwards, numbers swelled to over 1,000 for the evening celebration. Friends from England and Scotland were also in attendance.

Raise the Roof children’s choir  performing during the event

Raise the Roof children’s choir performing during the event

The celebration worship music, provided by the 120-strong Voice of Hope choir and Raise the Roof children’s choir (conducted by Asha supporter Alyson Reid), was a highlight of the evening, along with a walk-past by representatives of 27 teams from Ireland that have visited Asha over the past 12 years. Rev Simon Richardson shared experiences of his expedition to Delhi with the Parish team last autumn. He especially highlighted his visits to the women’s groups where he and Jim Cheshire learnt about their work, and his dialogue with Freddy Martin (his interpreter in Delhi) was especially poignant, yet greatly encouraging.

reddy and Dr. Kiran with Steven Montgomery, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Country Antrim  and his wife at the celebration

Freddy and Dr. Kiran with Steven Montgomery, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim and his wife at the celebration

The keynote speaker was the lively and vivacious Dr Kiran herself who possesses the real ongoing vision and zeal for the work of Asha. She spoke about the values and ethos of the organisation, expressing justice for the poor of our society, compassion and the love of God.

Walk-past by representatives of 27 teams from Ireland that had visited Asha over the past 12 years

Walk-past by representatives of 27 teams from Ireland that have visited Asha over the past 12 years

Dr Kiran also spoke in Holywood Parish Church on the Sunday, and expressed her sincere thanks to the members of the congregation for their generous support to Asha through the partnership with Zakhira slum colony. A replica of a slum hut had been erected by Noel Henderson in the chancel of the church. The children really loved it as Dr. Kiran explained to them thar it showed exactly the situation 25 years ago when Asha first became involved, but went on to confirm how much better the situation is today.

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