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Laura's 'Prayas' with destitute children

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 2: Away from the hype around US President George W Bush's India visit, First Lady Laura Bush held a quiet audience with children at a destitute home in the capital today.

Ms Bush, a champion of children's rights, preferred to interact with the children giving a miss to high-profile social gatherings.

She spent almost an hour at the shelter interacting with the children.

''Our children were very excited to have her... She was here for about an hour,'' a Prayas official said.

Alternative education to involve the destitute children in the mainstream was high on her agenda.

The First Lady visited the vocational training centre and held a ''roundtable'' session with five victims of child trafficking.

Appreciating the courage and commitments of the children, she invited them to write letters to her which she committed to respond personally.

The children, on their part, shared their experiences and aspirations with the First Lady and put posers about the situation of gender discrimination in the US.

''She was very keen to know about the alternative educational programmes. We briefed her about the various contemporary market driven vocational education courses,'' the official said.

Ms Bush was entertained to a Rajasthani folk dance performance for which the children had been rehearsing hard for days.

''The children presented a cultural programme...I am confident she enjoyed the presentation,'' he added.

However, the children were a little disappointed when she did not pick up anything from the Prayas kiosk run by the victims of human trafficking. But she made up for it by presenting them a miniature of the White House before leaving The First Lady is actively involved in issues of global concern with a particular emphasis on education and healthcare.

Ms Bush is the Honorary Ambassador for the Decade of Literacy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and is serving as an international spokesperson for efforts to educate people throughout the world, especially women and girls.

Later, she is expected to visit Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.


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