Zerbanoo established the ASHA Centre, in the beautiful Royal Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire,
to build a lasting and worthwhile celebration of the Millennium.
A stunning home and gardens which are enjoyed by everyone, ASHA is a centre of excellence
where pioneering ideas are put into action and where service is not just a motto
but a reality.
The ASHA Centre is now recognised internationally as a hub of activity for young
people who come from Britain and all over the world to experience each other’s cultures,
faiths and shared humanity.
Young people from war-torn countries and divided communities, those with disabilities,
volunteers keen to contribute, and high achievers re-evaluating their priorities
all find that being at ASHA gives them a new perspective on how to live a good life.
They all value the space they are given to explore their own identities and the chance
to examine social justice and the importance of principled and inspirational leadership.
They are encouraged to experience the joys of working on the land, sustainable living
and the use of the creative arts.
The ethos at ASHA is that everyone has special gifts that need to be nurtured and
that everyone can enrich their world. ASHA is a place where hope becomes Action.
It is said that the ASHA Centre is the only stately home in Britain that doesn't
charge entrance fees to walk around or study wildlife in its magnificent gardens.
It is a magical place, where everyone feels at home and leaves transformed.
Many thanks to the Erach and Roshan Sadri Foundation, and everyone worldwide who
has contributed to the Z Factor with such enthusiasm and generosity of spirit.
Interfaith is part of ASHA’s holistic approach to healing communities who are torn
apart because of their unhappy histories.
At ASHA, people are challenged to be open to life and understand others’ faiths and
The Centre is recognised as a sacred place. It has been chosen by Interfaith ministers
as a base for their training and spiritual retreats.
Young British Zoroastrians enjoying tea-time.
Far left: Rev Juliet Stephenson and Swamini Kaliji discussing their faiths at the
Young people from around the world celebrating Navroze, the Persian New Year, which
falls on the spring equinox.
ASHA’s gardens are cultivated by the age old biodynamic tradition, now coming back
into fashion. All vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers and the Old English Rose Garden
have been dug, planted, hoed, weeded and harvested according to the lunar calendar.
The ancient Zoroastrians also grew their crops in this way, to respect the earth.
As a super-organic way to grow food, it saves on precious water, there is no need
for chemical fertilisers, packaging or carbon footprint. Visitors to ASHA indulge
in nourishing food which is grown and cooked with love and attention to every detail.
The stream fed by St Anthony’s Well runs through the garden.
Young volunteers from around Europe learning biodynamics, the diversity of wildlife
and the importance of global ecology.
The beautifully appointed
cottages next to the main house provide accommodation for
visitors to the Centre.
ASHA’s got talent!
Theatre for peace
The Tongues of Fire Youth Theatre is affiliated to the ASHA Centre. Drama, voice
training and presentation all underpin the work of teaching young people self-confidence
and allowing them a creative space to express their vitality and individuality.
The young people create plays which they perform in Gloucester and London before
then staging the production in their home countries. Young Arab and Jewish Israelis
have produced plays together which they have taken to their warring homeland in an
effort to bring together their divided communities. The Israeli media have called
this one of the most significant contributions to the peace process.
Young South Africans performed the play they had created at ASHA on the history of
their nation for Nelson Mandela at his home.
Zanandule, a play written by Zerbanoo’s son, Alex, and presented in London and South
Africa by young people from the townships.
A Jewish girl putting make-up on an Arab boy before they performed together in the
play Arabian Nights.