Nanhi Chhaan Girls meet Mrs. Obama
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Nanhi Chhaan selected by the US Embassy for an interaction with the First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama

New Delhi, November 8, 2010

School girls from Punjab & Rajasthan represent the cause of girls and trees on their date with the First Lady of the United States.

Inspiration and Passion are not only felt but also recognized. On many aspects we experienced both these feelings on the recent visit of the US President Barrack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama to our country. Business, Strategy, Politics, Defence were all subjects of debate and decision which no doubt will impact the quality and magnitude of our future relationship. However, what will truly define the power of this relationship will be the human contact that was enhanced and energized. The First Couple touched the hearts of people in both countries and this is the true measure of the visits real success. 

It was when an Intelligence wing officer of Punjab Police knocked on their doors for verification did the small and rustic Qila Jiwan Singh village of Jandiala Block, District Amritsar wake up to the news of its ‘tryst with destiny’.Two girls hailing from poor Dalit families, Manpreet Kaur (13) and Ramanpreet Kaur (12) studying in VIII and V1 standard respectively at the state-run Elementary & Middle School were selected randomly for meeting Mrs.  Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, First Lady of the United States. And so were Apreet Buttar (11) and Ankita Dhukia (10), both studying in VI standard at Guru  arkrishan Public School in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. It was like a dream come true for all four of them when they met the First Lady at National Crafts Museum, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Accompanying the girls from Punjab was Ms. Baljit Kaur (42), Sarpanch of village Qila Jiwan Singh, probably the youngest woman sarpanch in the country.

 Ramanpreet, Manpreet, Ankita & Apreet along with 9 (from other NGOs) other girls (all aged between 10 to 12 yrs) spent almost an hour with Michelle Obama walking the National Crafts museum whilst they innocently asked some endearing & challenging questions.

“Who makes up first when you both have a fight at home”, Is there still any discrimination between boys and girls in american schools “,” what food did you like most on your recent visit ” etc. and many more. With grace and frankness the first Lady answered the questions which have now become the headlines in many news stories across media. Surely this  interaction with girls from humble homes from remote regions of the country will create the emotive connect that is the life line of truly great visits. The four girls may well have done what hours, days, months or years of official dialogue may have found difficult to achieve.

All four of them represented dual cause on their date with the First Lady – the abysmal sex ratio in not just their home state Punjab and Rajasthan, but across India as a country, and the declining tree cover. Nanhi Chhaan Foundation, a not-for-profit organization having twin goals of restoring the gender ratio and increasing tree cover in the country, had sponsored and enabled their meeting with the First Lady.

“We firmly believe that little girls who grow up to be mothers imparting a blissful shelter to the family, and trees that grow up to provide the life sustaining cover to the ecosystem are the greatest givers and therefore need to be protected and preserved. Thanks to the US Embassy, all four girls met the First Lady on the Nanhi Chhaan platform. The meeting has invigorated the girls as much as the larger community which for Nanhi Chhaan is a blessing twice over,” said Mr. Harpal Singh, Chairman, Nanhi Chhaan Foundation. Nanhi Chhaan selected by the US Embassy for an interaction with the First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama.