Tuesday, June 26th marked an important day in the lives of 17 students from Asha slums. They are the first participants in Asha’s Internship Programme, a pioneering initiative that gives students from slums a chance to get work experience in some of Delhi’s elite companies. The event, formally launching the programme and introducing the students to their future employers, was hosted by the New Zealand High Commission.
HE Jan Henderson, the New Zealand High Commissioner expressed her joy that the High Commission has been able to partner with Asha in this groundbreaking programme and for the last several years on a number of enterprises to help with career opportunities available to Asha students. Also addressing the gathering of students and company representatives was HE Mr Peter Varghese, the Australian High Commissioner, whose High Commission is also a partner in this programme. Mr Varghese reiterated the importance of education in helping students from poor backgrounds move forward and emphasised on the need for experience in navigating the job market. This makes the Asha Internship Programme a great chance for these children to open up their future careers.
There were 12 organisations represented in the event and included Multi-National Corporations like Rio Tinto and Macquarie Group. This was the first exposure that many of the companies had had to Asha. Dr Martin gave them a brief synopsis of the organization and its work and also spoke about the importance of Asha’s value of compassion in achieving partnership with the urban slum communities. The general theme of the day was not only to acquaint the students with the companies but also to introduce the objectives Asha hopes the students will achieve out of the experience.
The highlight of the event was the one to one interaction over refreshment between the Asha students and the company representatives. Both parties had many questions for the other: the representatives wanted to know more about the students’ backgrounds and experiences and the students were eager to know what their responsibilities would be during the internship. Asha hopes this programme marks the start of new opportunities for the students that will be a turning point in their lives as they finish their education and enter the professional world.
Asha would like to thank the New Zealand High Commission for hosting this event, the Australian High Commission for also being a partner in the programme and all the representatives of the companies that attended.