Visiting German First Lady Daniela Schadt had a lively interaction Friday here with adolescent girls from Koppal district in northern Karnataka.
Schadt, who is accompanying her husband and German President Joachim Gauck on a three-day visit to the state, drove to Bal Bhavan in Cubbon Park in the city centre to meet the rural girls.
A patron of German national committee of Unicef, Schadt heard the experiences of the girls dealing with issues related to social practices like the Devadasi system, child marriage and child labour.
"Please accept my congratulations and best wishes for the courageous work you are doing in your community," Schadt was quoted telling the girls belonging to the Balika Sangha in the backward Koppal district, about 360km from Bangalore.
Even as Gauck was busy with his official engagements, including visits to Indian IT bellwether Infosys campus and German automotive major Bosch Ltd across the city, Schadt also visited four pavilions set up at the Bhavan to give her an overview of the programme interventions in Koppal district to reduce child labour and prevent exploitation of children.
Unicef's child protection programme in the district is a model initiative that demonstrates how families and communities come together in creating an enabling environment protecting children's rights.
"We acknowledge the support of the German national committee in the Koppal programme and are overwhelmed that Schadt was able to interact with the girls and community members from the district," Unicef state office chief Ruth Leano said on the occasion.
"Everyone is doing an important work here. I congratulate the government, NGO partners and everyone involved in protecting children," Schadt said.
She also told the girls that she would share her experiences here with her Unicef colleagues in Germany and the work they were supporting in India.
Later, Schadt visited the child protection centre at Don Bosco Mane in the city's southwestern suburb and interacted with the young beneficiaries.