Students of a school in Rajasthan held out their plates to be served by Bill Clinton.
The former US president doled out “rotis” to over two dozen children of a government-run school in Jaipur. He was joined by Avi Glazer, the businessman who owns the football club Manchester United.
The meal was special in more ways than one. Along with their khichdi staple, the children today got cake.
In return, they performed a folk dance for Mr. Clinton, and ran to him for autographs soon after. Asked about his favourite sport as a student, he replied, “Basketball.” The children responded with the chorus of “cricket!”
Mr. Clinton is visiting India as part of the Clinton Foundation’s initiative to collaborate with NGOs related to education and malnourishment. One of these programmes is the “Akshay Patra”, which provides mid-day meals to 1.3 million children in more than 10,000 schools across India.
“I love the midday meal programme because it helps keep kids involved in schools, it prevents dropouts and improves learning,” the former president said.
“In my last year as president I secured 300 million dollars to give to 20 countries to provide meals in schools and I know what happens. The involvement goes up and dropouts go down, learning improves.”
Mr. Clinton announced a two million dollar donation from Caterpillar, a US based company that will support a similar mid-day meal programme in Lucknow.