Rare inspirational story of sheer courage and resolve leading to astounding success & redemption (Chronicled in her memoirs, Indian.English.)

New Delhi, Kolkata, London, Los Angles: The adage truth is stranger than fiction defines the life of Jillian Haslam more than anything else. Born in 1970 to British parents who decided to stay on in India after independence, Jillian and her family led a life far removed from what you would expect people of their background to lead.

A series of circumstances and inopportune decisions made by her parents led them to homelessness and living among the poorest of the poor. So poor that Jillian lost four siblings to hunger and poverty. Two of them had to be buried in tea cases because the family could not afford to buy proper coffins. Jillian and her siblings grew up near destitute in the slums and mean streets of Kolkata foraging for food and fending off bullies and tormentors. 

She and her family were viewed with suspicion and distrust by the people that they lived amongst on account of their different looks and language. They were subject to racist and every so often physical abuse, even though they were as poor and desperate as their tormentors. However there were a few people among all those poor and desperate people who would help them every now and then. The Haslams survived those difficult years largely due to such gestures, infrequent as they were.

Jillian had even as a child resolved to better things for her family even though she had no clue how, or even what that meant. She had a start in that she received free education in a school started by the British in Kolkata. Little by little and one painful step at a time she rose from the quagmire that destiny had willed her, and completely transformed her own life, and that of her family.

She found employment with Bank of America in Delhi, and rising through the ranks made it to the President of the Employee Charity Division, a position she excelled in on account of her own life experiences and her utter empathy for the poorest of the poor. Eventually Jillian emigrated to the UK where after an equally successful banking career; she started her own motivational speaking and training company.

Jillian Haslam’s life is a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit, which needs just the hint of hope, to reach out and achieve even those things that are considered beyond its pale. Jillian’s circumstances were such that she didn’t have a snowball’s chance to lead even a normal life, leave alone achieve what she has. Yet she managed a stunning reversal of fortune by never succumbing to hopelessness, even in her darkest hour. She did this by willing herself to believe that better days lay ahead, if only she persevered. She believed like Churchill did, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Jillian’s incredible saga of moving from a life lived under a flight of stairs in a Kolkata slum to owning a three storey house in England is the stuff of fairy-tales. The poignancy lies in the fact that hers is a true tale. A tale of sweat, blood and tears amounting to something- a tale of redemption.

Not content with her extraordinary achievements, Jillian Haslam has made it her life’s mission to help the poorest of the poor to emerge from their desperate situations and make something of their lives, just as she did. Her memoirs, Indian.English. Chronicle her travails as a twice cursed slum dweller from Kolkata who rose to dizzying heights by the dint of her own hard work, an incorrigibly positive attitude, and an ability to persist against all odds.

In 2012 Jillian won the first runner up award for The Asian Woman of the Year in the Social and Humanitarian category in recognition of her business achievements and charitable contributions. In April 2015 The Telegraph of Calcutta presented Jillian with a True Legend Award for her exceptional contribution to social and humanitarian causes and in July of 2015 she was presented with the Star Recognition Award in London for ‘Lifting Lives’ and delivering numerous speeches across the UK’s educational institutes.  In September 2015 she was nominated by members of the public for ITV’s 2015 Inspirational Woman of the Year award.
 
This book which is now an international best seller is in the sights of major Hollywood production houses who hope to turn into a blockbuster movie along the lines of Slumdog Millionaire. As a matter of fact the first draft of a screenplay based on the book won the first best screenplay award at the Monaco Film Festival. Already renowned producer Cyrus Yavneh and celebrated director Jack Sholder have come on board in their respective professional capacities to  give shape to a grand cinematic expression of Jillian’s truly inspirational true story.

It is Jillian’s fervent hope that by sharing her story, she will inspire many others to strive for betterment, no matter how desperate their circumstances may seem. Putting her money where her mouth is Jillian is actively involved in advocating and promoting programs geared to alleviate poverty. She has been holding lectures, meetings and training sessions for years hoping to draw attention to the pressing problem of poverty. In Jillian’s own words, “My hope is that my story is able to touch the hearts of people across the world (especially in India, the land of my birth) to show forgiveness, loyalty and gratitude for what was done for us rather than what was taken from us”

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