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Meeting PM a dream come true: Orissa tribal girl
Published on 15 Jul. 2009 12:15 AM IST
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For 16-year-old Orissa girl Sanyukta Pangi, who represented India in the Junior 8 (J8) summit parallel to the G8-G5 summit in Italy, the highlight of her trip was a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "Meeting our prime minister is like a dream come true. It is the high point of my life so far," said an elated Pangi on her return to New Delhi from Rome. "I felt proud to meet him and share my feelings about education, water and other problems that we tribal girls face," said Pangi, who is from Karanjaguda village in Koraput district of Orissa. An initiative of the Unicef, J8 was a meeting of 52 youngsters from G8 countries and non-G8 nations like India, Brazil and Mexico. "I told prime minister that teachers in the government schools are not as good as in the private schools. Other facilities too are bad in comparison to private schools. We need quality education," Pangi told IANS on her interaction with Manmohan Singh. "I also told him about the problem of transportation in our district. We walk to our school. I urged him to provide special transport vehicles to students in hilly and tribal areas like mine," said Pangi. "He was very happy to see me there. When I told him that I am a tribal girl from Koraput district, he patted my back." "He said that he is aware about the teachers' problem in the government schools and will try to solve it. He (Manmohan Singh) said 'I will do something for this'," Pangi said. "He also encouraged me to study more," said the Class 12 student, who wants to become a civil servant. Pangi said she told the prime minister about the water scarcity in her district. "I told him how girls and women have to walk a long distance to fetch water." There were two other participants from India - Narendra Kumar from Uttar Pradesh and Samuel Venkatesh from Tamil Nadu - who went to the summit in Rome. But only Pangi met the prime minister. "We went to Rome and were happy that we managed to discuss a lot on education. Though we don't know much English, all the students from countries like Canada, Brazil were very cooperative," Kumar said. Venkatesh said his visit to Rome has helped him understand the issues facing our society. "Now I want to do something which will benefit many people. Quality education is the key to our growth and we talked about it at the summit," he said.

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