Australian foreign minister meets students in RK Puram

Students also shared their tales with the Australian delegation.

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Published:November 19, 2013 3:12 am

On her maiden visit to India,Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop visited Ambedkar Basti,a slum settlement in R K Puram and spoke with students from the area. The students,all hailing from humble backgrounds,shared their stories with the minister during the interaction.

Last year,former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had also visited the slum on her maiden visit to India. Bishop donated Rs 10 lakh to Asha Foundation — an NGO that runs a higher education and leadership program in Ambedkar Basti.

The Australian High Commission has been engaging with Asha Foundation for higher education,leadership and mentorship programmes.

College students from the slum have been interning with the High Commission,as well as Australian companies such as Rio Tinto for a few years as a part of the programme.

Students also shared their tales with the Australian delegation.

“I remember being a shy and hesitant girl. I didn’t even think that I would go to a college. But that was before Asha and the High Commission stepped in. Interning at the Australian High Commission opened up my horizons and made me more confident. It also erased all my fears and inhibitions. Now,I have hopes and dreams,and enough confidence to go out and accomplish them,” Usha,a political science student at Maitreyi College,said.

Speaking at the event,Julie Bishop said,“I am pleased to see the transformation this area has undergone in the past few years. I encourage everyone to have hopes and dreams and aspirations,and to follow their journey of hope. After all,it is not the ties between governments,but people-to-people links that matter the most.”

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