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Anderton’s gift makes life better for children

30 April 2008

Anderton’s gift makes life better for children in Indian slum

FOR a few hours today, 20 children from Delhi’s slums exchanged the narrow lanes and cramped surroundings of their slum areas for the green lawns and cool patios of the High Commissioner’s residence.

The event was in recognition of a generous donation of NZ$5000 made to TEAR Fund’s Asha project by Mrs Caroline Anderton, the wife of Mr Jim Anderton, New Zealand’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Biosecurity and Fisheries. After visiting Asha and seeing its programmes in action in the deprived Mayapuri slum, Mrs Anderton was so impressed that she chose to make the donation and support further work, said TEAR Fund NZ’s Bernard Gomes who is currently monitoring programmes in India.

A number of the children who visited the High Commission are from Mayapuri, an area where Asha’s programmes are funded by TEAR Fund New Zealand. TEAR Fund’s support of the project has seen the area equipped with computers and a computer teacher, a well-stocked children’s resource centre, and a successful English Literacy programme.

The children are an integral part of the programmes Asha run in slum areas, said Mr Gomes. “They work hard to educate their fellow community members on a wide range of issues including health, gender equality, and the importance of education and child rights, among others.”

Each child is responsible for around 20-25 houses in their `lanes’ and organises sanitation drives, rallies and street plays to raise awareness within their slums, he said.
“All of them know the health status of the families in their areas, and they now play an important role in Asha’s recently-introduced Care for the Elderly programme. The children visit the elderly people within their lane, run errands they may have and report any illness or problems to Asha staff or volunteers.”

Mr Gomes said it was wonderful to see a group of these inspirational children rewarded for their efforts. “The chance to experience an environment so different from their own was as much of a treat for them as the afternoon tea that was served, the number of games played and the chance to chat to Mrs and Mr Anderton.

“The children were delighted with the experience, and everyone at Asha is equally happy with and encouraged by Mrs Anderton’s generous donation.”

The money will be used to fund the running of the Child Advocacy Programme and the Computer Literacy course for the children of Ekta Vihar, a slum area in south Delhi.

Note: Although April 30, India time happened today.


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