A Voice Out of Poverty

A Voice Out of Poverty

A woman's ascent from devastating poverty and childhood trauma to international standing as a prominent advocate for the poor and helpless.

Many stories of people with unfortunate beginnings tell of how they escaped their circumstances - AND NEVER GO BACK. They go on to their success and leave their past behind - or buried.

Not Jillian Haslam. Her childhood in India after the end of British colonization is a modern-day Dickensian horror. But she climbed from the slums of Calcutta to the top of her success then turned back to her roots to support others.

Winner of the prestigious Mother Teresa International Memorial Award, she has embraced her purpose to become an important driver of global action for the most urgent needs of the underserved in India and the UK, especially during the pandemic.

Watch The Miss Singh interview with Jillian Haslam

Watch interview with World Affairs Council of America

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About the Book

As a young girl, Jillian Haslam saved a life. Herself tiny and aching from malnutrition, she stood for hours at a tea shop, begging for a ladle of milk to try and prevent her new-born sister from dying of starvation. This tenacious act was proof of the power that a small, lone voice could wield. 

From the slums of Calcutta to the executive floors of a global bank, A Voice out of Poverty offers an unflinching look at one woman’s journey from destitution to success. Throughout, Haslam demonstrates an inexhaustible drive to rise from adversity and find beacons of positivity in impossible circumstances. But her rise doesn’t stop at the top; she returns to her roots again and again to extend a hand to those left in the impoverished communities that she so narrowly escaped.

British by ancestry and born in India after its independence, Haslam found herself casteless in a caste driven society. She and her family suffered the degradation and prejudice of being beneath even the lowest rungs of the social ladder. Deemed less than human, they were forced to live on the streets, flee danger in the middle of the night, and face persistent abuse and starvation.

This treacherous environment is the backdrop of an unlikely story of resilience and an unshakable family bond. From squalor and powerlessness, Haslam finds countless moments of grace, community, gratitude, and love. 

A Voice out of Poverty is a raw and inspiring memoir that shows how beauty can be found in improbable places, and how “success” is not just the act of making it through. Rather, it is the act of reaching back to bring others with you.

Genre: Biography / Memoir
Tags: New Release, Recommended Books
Publisher: Top Reads Publishing
Publication Year: 2022
ISBN: 9781970107234
List Price: 18.99
eBook Price: 8.99
Audiobook Price: 22.99
“… a heartbreaking story of a childhood that forced Haslam to grow up quickly. She recalls many tragedies with a steadiness one cannot help but admire, retelling stories of her younger years with an innocence that gives added dimension to the depictions of that harsh childhood."
“A remarkable account that captures the horror of hardship and the power of charity.”
“A Voice out of Poverty is a vivid, harrowing, and inspiring account of survival, triumph, and a career in charitable outreach.”
“A moving and uplifting memoir about one woman and her family’s battle against soul-crushing poverty.…testimony to the indomitable human spirit.”
A beautiful story of resiliency that never shies away from the horrors and hardships that made Haslam the woman she is today. Recommended for fans of Brené Brown and those who enjoy self-empowerment books.”
– Library Journal, Emily Bowles
“Well-written, A Voice out of Poverty is a difficult read at times because of its content, but will leave you in awe at Jillian’s courage and strength.” Chosen as an "Indie Books We Love"
“… more than a singular memoir of achievement, but a broader inspection of how personal experience can drive social and political change… This memoir should not be limited to library autobiography sections alone, but should be made part of book and social issues discussion groups, studies on contemporary Indian society, and examinations of the changing roles of women in leadership positions.”
– Diane Donovan, Sr. Reviewer at Midwest Book Review
“A Voice out of Poverty, is a coming of age story of courage, survival and inner strength which illuminates the human condition in all its squalor and glory.”
– Vikas Swarup, writer of Slumdog Millionnaire
“Enormously compelling … like something out of Dickens, yet true. It has the power to move with an epic sweep, yet is intensely personal. It is tailor-made for the cinema and I cannot think of a more worthy project to make happen!”
– Jack Sholder, Hollywood Film Director, Nightmare on Elm Street II among other films
“… poignant, sad and at the same time hopeful and uplifting.… her capacity to deal with adversity seems immeasurable.… I am certain every reader will find inspiration and lessons from this hard-hitting autobiography…”
– Ambi Venkateswaran, Consultant, Aozora Bank Ltd., Tokyo (Formerly, CEO, Bank of America Corporation)
"A Voice Out of Poverty is riveting and essential reading. It authentically lifts the silence that hangs over the lives of the poor and the severe challenges and stigmas faced by British families who stayed in India after India's independence. I've seen those conditions myself, and Jillian Haslam's harrowing account is full of deep insight about the crushing ways in which gender discrimination, class, corruption, and injustice shape possibility. And yet, we are lifted by Haslam's triumph when she forges the opportunity to succeed––only to bring others with her."
– Dame Joanna Lumley, actress, TV producer, activist
"Jillian and I worked closely together for three years, and it was clear from day one that she was truly extraordinary. Even so, I had no idea of the many obstacles she had to overcome until reading this book. Her incredible success is in no way surprising, and her life story is as inspirational as it is shocking. A must read!"
– Dave Wexler, Managing Director, West Monroe Partners, New York (Formerly SVP, ABN AMRO Bank, London)
"'A Voice Out of Poverty’ by Jillian Haslam is a powerful and transformative read. Taking inspiration from her hero, Mother Teresa, Jillian 'does ordinary things with extraordinary love’ and has helped thousands of children to escape poverty through the work of Remedia Trust, the charity she founded. The greatest gift this book offers, however, is the living proof that poverty and discrimination does not have to define our lives and that forgiveness, gratitude and generosity can reshape our future."
– Dr Elizabeth Jordan, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)
"As someone who grew up in Canada, I had almost zero knowledge about the Anglo-Indian community, its history, and the prejudices it faces. In this raw and honest memoir, Jillian Haslam shares her family's struggles, but also the power of story to help survive and overcome the worst traumas. An inspiring page-turner."
– Farzana Doctor, award-winning author of Six Metres of Pavement and All Inclusive
"Jillian Haslam's story is one of the most harrowing and triumphant I have ever read. Just when you think things couldn't get any more tragic, it does. One hardship after another, this woman had the fortitude to not just persevere, but to create a new standard of what it means to give back. Her stirring spirit is a beacon of much needed light in today's world."
– Sheetal Sheth, actress, producer, author, activist
“Jillian Haslam's unforgettable memoir, makes Slumdog Millionaire look like the fantasy it is!”
“A startling account of an English/Indian family which stayed in India after Indian independence and suffered through excruciating times … while living in conditions on the margin of slums and homelessness. Amazing to learn from such real-life experiences, it shows how the past does not have to determine one’s future.”
– Tom Groenfeldt, Freelance Journalist and writer, Forbes Magazine, NYC
“Jillian is remarkable not only for overcoming her own history but for using it as an upbuilding example with which to help others. She does not feel sorry for herself or ask for sympathy, rather she seems to wish us to connect with the millions who, like her, had very tough childhoods of extreme poverty.”
– Rani Singh, BBC broadcaster and author of Sonia Gandhi: An Extraordinary Life, An Indian Destiny
“A shocking read. Jillian suffered an excruciating childhood but her determination of a better life helped her rise above the horrific circumstances and made her a successful businesswoman. A truly inspirational story.”
– Channel 5 News – UK
“A more heartbreaking story is hard to come by and yet her success is truly amazing.”
– The Times
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