India’s Cabinet Minister for Finance, Shri. P. Chidambaram at an Asha Event

The 28th of October, 2013 marked the fifth year of the ‘Celebration of Learning’, an event to celebrate the remarkable achievements of nearly 1,000 students from Asha’s slum communities who have been accepted to university. The evening was graced by the presence of Honourable Minister for Finance, Government of India, Shri. P. Chidambaram as the Chief Guest.

Shri P Chidambaram lights the inaugural lampShri P Chidambaram lights the inaugural lamp

It was a proud moment for Asha as some of the top achievers for this year took to the stage to accept a certificate, scholarship and memento from the Honourable Minister. The evening was interspersed with tales of inspiration as children from the slum communities shared their stories of hopes, dreams and victories despite the insurmountable odds against them.

Shri P. Chidambaram, whose first visit to Asha in 2008 initiated the Financial Inclusion Programme spoke highly of Dr. Kiran’s contribution in improving the lives of nearly half a million people in the slums of Delhi. The Minister was also impressed with the merit and hard-work displayed by these students and elaborated that given the opportunities these children are capable of great heights. There is no doubt regarding the power of this statement since Asha boats o0f the likes of Chandan Singh who is the Asha topper with 89% marks in the standard XII board examination or Sunil who is now employed with Pepsico.

Shri P Chidambaram presents the certificate and memento to one of the Asha toppersShri P Chidambaram presents the certificate and memento to one of the Asha toppers

The evening also celebrated the success of Asha’s Financial Inclusion Programme with the heads of Canara Bank, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank presenting loan cheques to the Asha loan beneficiaries.

The cultural performances for the evening include a folk dance performance by children, for many of whom it was their first time on stage. The highlight of the evening was the Ghazal performance by Guru Vinpd Kumar, Director and Principal of Bhaatkhande Sangeet Vidyalaya and the multi-talented Dr. Kiran Martin. The loud applause from the audience was testimony to the way the listeners were mesmerized by the performance.

Highlight of the evening was Ghazal performance by Dr Kiran Martin and Guru Vinod Kumar Ghazal performance by Dr Kiran Martin and Guru Vinod Kumar

We are sure that with Asha’s dedicated efforts, we will have many more musical soirees and stories to last us a lifetime.

Click here to see more photographs from Celebration of Learning 2013