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The year 2009-2010 has been a significant one with lot of excitement and joy as the Sulabh Public School and Vocational Training Centre were the centre of attention for distinguished international dignitaries. The Swedish Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt and his wife Mrs. Filippa Reinfeldt were accorded a warm welcome on November 6, 2009.
The Swedish Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt
and his wife Mrs. FilippaReinfeldt with the
students of Sulabh Public School.
The Prime Minister interacted with the students of the Sulabh Public School and spent a lot of time preferring to mingle with the group of students, majority of whom belong to families of liberated scavengers. He was quick to ask questions to the students and gave tips to them on various subjects, especially health and environment.
Both the Prime Minister and his wife were amused on seeing how intelligently the students had asked him questions, “How do you in Sweden help countries in the Third World such as India?” asked a boy named Laul and got the Prime Minister to talk about Swedish development assistance policy.
HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium was conducted by Dr. Pathak to the Sulabh Public School during her visit on March 23, 2010. He explained to her that Sulabh’s mission did not end with the liberation of scavengers from the filthy task of removing night-soil as head-load to earn their living; it encompassed taking good care of their children also for, otherwise they could relapse into the dirty old calling of their parents. “The Sulabh School is a symbol of our determination to provide education and right environment to the children of the liberated scavengers also so that they could completely get rid of the ghost of scavenging which had been the cross which their ancestors had to bear for centuries,” Dr. Pathak said.
HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium and
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak among the childrenfrom
Sulabh Public School
When she enquired from the boys in about their ambition in life, some said they would like to become great cricketers and scientists. But what took the Princess’s breath away was the reply: “Software Engineer.” HRH Princess Mathilde was very happy with whatever she had seen in the school. Before leaving she called her staff to bring three packed cardboard boxes containing notebooks which she had brought for the children.
H.E. Mr. Timothy Roemer, former U.S. Ambassador and his wife Ms. Sally Roemer visited the Sulabh campus and met the children of Sulabh Public School. He shook hands with most of them, including children of the erstwhile utouchable families and from the families of higher castes and evinced keen interest in the welfare of the children.
The U.S. Ambassador and his wife are all smiles when
photographed with the students of Sulabh Public School
Dr. and Mrs. Pathak are seen sitting with His Excellency
and his wife.
The U.S. Ambassador summed up his two hour visit with these remarks: “I felt like part of the family here as we entered the gates and were greeted by all the beautiful smiles. As a representative of America I am proud of the values and ideals exhibited here – advancing technology, protecting the environment and improving equality and justice. We salute and honor the great people, progress and hope here in this effort and community. Congratulations and thank you for welcoming us to your successful enterprise, for equality and principles of which Gandhiji would be very proud.”
H.E. Mr. Jean M. Deboutte, Ambassador of Belgium to India, Nepal and Bhutan came to the Sulabh campus accompanied by Second Secretary, Mr. Jochen Anthierens, of the Embassy on December 21, 2009. He met the students of the Sulabh Public School and then went to the Vocational Training Centre. During interaction with students, H.E. Mr. Deboutte enquired from one of the students if he had heard of Belgium and then went to explain that Belgium is a very small country with a population of 10 million people in the centre of Europe.
His Excellency Mr. Jean M. Deboutte visited the
Sulabh Public School on November 6, 2009
The Belgian Ambassador was impressed by the way the students were being imparted training in various crafts. After his visit he remarked, “The way Sulabh is looking after the children of the depressed classes is impressive. They are being imparted training not only in computer operations, but also typing, tailoring and embroidery. For a school meant for the children of the underprivileged, this is remarkable.”
Prof Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife, Mrs. Usha Gandhi visited Sulabh Public School in 2009 with students of University of Illinois, USA. Later, he remarked, “I do not have words for what Dr. Pathak, who is standing next to me, has achieved in his lifetime through his dedicated efforts.”
Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi,
his wife Mrs. Usha Gandhi and Dr. Pathak with
children of Sulabh Public School
The Ambassador of Bhutan and Peru, H.E. Jarier and Paulmich recently visited the centre. Besides this, many visitors from India and abroad visit the Sulabh Public School and Vocational Training Centre Campus to see Dr. Pathak’s achievements to bring children from the down-trodden scavenger families into the mainstream of society. By providing them a good English-medium foundation and enabling them to intermingle, share their foods and perform ‘pujas’ with children of other castes, he has brought them on a par with children of the best public schools in the country.