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Australian Envoy for Women and Girls Natasha Despoja visits Asha

Australian Envoy for Women and Girls Natasha Despoja visits Asha

On 11th October, 2014, the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Natasha Stott Despoja visited Asha’s Dr Ambedkar slum colony. Warmly welcomed by Dr Kiran and the community, Ms Despoja had a hearty interaction with the members of the children’s association, women’s association and Asha college students.

Dr Kiran facilitating Ms Despoja’s interaction with the community

Dr Kiran facilitating Ms Despoja’s interaction with the community

On a visit to India to promote the cause of Australia’s international engagement with gender equality and support to the empowerment of women, Ms Despoja was highly appreciative of the Asha model. She was extremely happy to see the changed position of girls from the slum communities who unlike their mothers, are not only opting for higher education but are also accepting internships and jobs at some of the most reputed organisations in Delhi.

“Many countries around the world, including India, are investing in women and girls. Their education is the most important way to develop prosperity and growth in countries around the world – it is the silver bullet for human development,” she said commending the efforts of Asha.

Dr Kiran presenting Ms Despoja with a copy of A Journey of Hope a coffee table book on the work of Asha as memento of her visit

Dr Kiran presenting Ms Despoja with a copy of A Journey of Hope a coffee table book on the work of Asha as memento of her visit

In order to encourage Asha’s efforts, Ms Despoja also presented a grant of Rs 10 lakh towards the education and empowerment of women and girls from slum communities in Delhi. “We love supporting Asha and we love working in partnership with them as we get excited by their values,” she added.  She also visited Asha student and former Australian High Commission intern Babita’s residence in Ambedkar slum colony to see the living conditions in a slum home first hand.

Ms Despoja talks to Babita (in red) on her way to Babita’s home in the slum

Ms Despoja talks to Babita (in red) on her way to Babita’s home in the slum

Inspired by the vibrancy of the slum community, Ms Despoja also asked women in the slums to paint her hand with henna. Asha would like to thank the country of Australia for the invaluable support they have always extended to Asha’s work.

Click here to see more photographs from the visit.

Watch Ms Despoja’s interview after the visit.

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