On Tuesday, 16th October, Australia’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP congratulated Asha at the launch of its Internship Programme during her visit to Asha’s community health center in Jeewan Nagar. The event was attended by the participants of the Internship programme along with representatives from some of the employers participating in the programme.
The event began with welcome notes from Dr Kiran Martin. She acknowledged the support that Australian High Commission has extended towards Asha and talked about the success of the Internship Programme. “These bright students have overcome enormous challenges to make it to college. The Asha Internship Programme equips them with skills and confidence to take the next step into the competitive job market,” said Dr Martin.
During their interaction with Ms Gillard, the students told her about the difficulties they faced in pursuing higher education and how they were able to overcome them with Asha’s timely help. While explaining to Julia Gillard the challenges and problems of life in the slums, Mahesh, an engineer student from Dr. Ambedkar Basti said, ''It is very, very difficult, people have small houses and large families, it is always noisy, and very hard to concentrate''.
Above: Hon. Julia Gillard, in conversation with some students and employers after the formal interaction
Talking about the achievements of these students, Gillard said, “I think that we can learn a lot from you — about what it means as an individual to focus and to make sure that the you make use of all the right opportunities that are made available to you.” She also announced a grant of AUD 30,000 for Asha’s Higher Education Programme to provide scholarships for college students.
Above: Hon. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia and HE Mr Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner to India presents the cheque to Dr Martin
Employers participating in the inaugural Internship Programme, which was launched in June, include the Macquarie Group, Rio Tinto, Pepsi, Parsons Brinckerhoff, British Aerospace Engineering, SMEC, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian High Commissions.
“The internship has been like a dream come true. I could never have imagined I would work in such high profile multinationals. I gained confidence and invaluable skills that helped me obtain a terrific job,” said business student Divakar Thakur who interned with the Macquarie Group and Rio Tinto and has since been employed as a Marketing Executive.