New Delhi, 26 February, 2020: US First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday visited a government school in south Delhi’s Moti Bagh where she attended a class featuring the happiness curriculum with students who welcomed her in the traditional Indian way, performed Yoga and danced for her. Melania said she couldn’t think of a better way of starting her day.
The curriculum, introduced by Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government in all its schools in July 2018, includes meditation, storytelling, other activities aimed at de-stressing students, and question-answer sessions. The event was organised by the US embassy. “A short while ago, I visited a classroom and observed its happiness curriculum. It is very inspiring that students begin their day by practising mindfulness, talking to each other and connecting with nature. I cannot think of a better way to start our day,” Melania told students, teachers and reporters at the Sarvodaya Co-ed Senior Secondary School in Moti Bagh.
The US first lady arrived at the school at around 11:45 am and was showered with rose petals, as students performed an aarti, put a tilak (vermilion mark) on her forehead and presented her a bouquet apart from gifting her Madhubani paintings made by them.
At the end of the happiness class, when every one was asked to write down who they would like to thank in their lives, Melania left a note saying: “Family, friends, freedom. You and your teachers for your beautiful welcome.”
Students of the army pipe band from Arvind Gupta DAV Centenary Public School in Model Town played the tunes of the popular Uttarkhand song “bedu paku” to welcome her. Melania also visited the activity room for kindergarten students and saw a group of students perform the Surya Namaskar.
Students from Delhi government schools in Janakpuri and Dallupura performed Rajasthani and Punjabi folk dances to the beats of which the school children also danced, much to the surprise of the principal, teachers and the bevy of security personnel present at the venue. This was followed by a brief speech by the first lady.
“I learnt that your school’s name, Sarvodaya, means prosperity for all and as I walked around I was able to see how the concept exists in the curriculum,” she said.
“I also visited one of your primary school’s reading classrooms and learnt about your reading programme. Encouraging students to explore books of their own interest is very impacting and increases reading habits…Your learning is valuable and will make a difference in your lives and those among you,” the first lady said.
The children, who were mainly from classes 4 to 6, said they had a “great time.” Some referred to the first lady as “foreigner ma’am”. They shook hands with the first lady and interacted with her.
Nisha Kumari, a class 4 student, got a chance to ask the first lady what her favourite cartoon was. “Tom and Jerry,” Melania replied with a gentle laugh.
Shafia, a class 6 student who lives in Shri Ram JJ Camp, a slum, and was part of the group that displayed their yoga skills to the first lady said Melania was “very loving”.
“After our yoga session, she told all of us ‘well done’.”