Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne visits Asha
It was a matter of great joy for the community, Dr Kiran and the entire team as we welcomed Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Canada at our community based centre in Jeevan Nagar slum colony.
Hon. Premier was accompanied by her partner Jane Rounthwaite, Cabinet Minister – Ontario Dipika Damerla, Deputy Canadian High Commissioner Mr Jess Dutton and his wife Sigrid Schluter, and Jennifer Graham from the High Commission.
Dr Kiran shared the various developments that have taken place over the years. In the slums of Delhi where hygiene was a challenge, and electricity was sporadic, Asha communities proved to be an inspiration of transformation. “Before we came in, pregnant women weren’t even coming for check-ups. There would have been some kids who got vaccinated. But the community just wasn’t educated enough,” shared Dr Kiran.
Chandan Singh, a 20-year-old mathematics undergraduate at Delhi University and the first in his family to receive higher education, spoke about his incredible journey to rise from a slum colony and reach the halls of one of the most prestigious universities. Dr Kiran noted that Chandan has done so well in his studies that Oxford University has demonstrated an interest in him.
“Before Asha, we had no respect, we had no dignity. People thought we were unclean and we really were,” Kamla Gauri, a woman who has benefitted from the NGO’s work, told Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“So Asha has been a leader … with a range of different programs from education to internship … and has a good track record and is doing great work,” said Dutton talking about how the Canadians in Delhi have come together under an umbrella organization called CanAssist that works to support local development projects including Asha.
The Premier, for her part, was impressed by what she saw. “I see enormous hope …when I see the fact there have not been any infant deaths and the children are not malnourished any more. And there is hope for children who know that it is possible to go to college, have a career and be educated,” the premier said later in an interview with the Asha team.
“We’re all going to be better off … if those children are better,” she said, adding she has invited Dr Kiran to visit Canada because her methods may also help First Nations people.
“I’m here on a trade mission, so it’s about the economy. But one of the reasons that I wanted to come and see all of you is that I believe when we are talking about an economy, we are talking about business, but we are also talking about the well-being of people,” she added while addressing the community.
“We’re talking about the ability of children and women and everybody to have opportunities. I don’t think an economy is healthy unless everyone has an opportunity to take part in it,” she added.
Thank you for visiting us, Hon. Kathleen Wynne! It was wonderful to host you at Asha.