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.