A member of the Belgian royal family got a crash course on the city’s social issues, on Thursday.
Princess Mathilde, married to Belgium’s heir-apparent Prince Philippe, was in the city as part of the couple’s eight-day visit to India to develop business opportunities. A United Nations envoy for micro-credit, HIV and child rights, the princess has been actively involved in international social causes.
Member of Parliament Supriya Sule, art historian Dr Sarayu Doshi, executive director of Nicholas Piramal India Dr Swati Piramal and others, attended the event, organised by the Sahachari Foundation that raises funds to support social activities.
“I have been told that ‘Sahachari’ means ‘women walking together’. That symbolises what I work for. I’ve always encouraged women to share their problems with other women and I am a strong advocate of women empowerment through entrepreneurship,” said the princess.
Three city-based women social entrepreneurs showcased their work in the fields of micro-finance, heritage conservation and education. Veena Mankar, co-founder of Swadhaar, which provides micro finance facilities to the urban poor, stressed on the need of financial inclusion in cities.
Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, highlighted heritage conservation projects such as the restoration of the Bhau Daji Lad museum, to preserve the city’s iconic symbols.
Neeta Khajuria, a representative from Life Trust, a foundation that works to improve the quality of education in municipal schools, spoke of its success in implementing digital classrooms and a centre of learning disabilities for underprivileged children.
The princess said she was “impressed by the dynamism and zeal” of the women and concluded with: “Let’s start walking together.”