United States First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday visited a government school in Delhi to attend a class on the “happiness curriculum”, PTI reported. She called the experience inspiring and said it sets a “healthy and positive” example for educators.
Dressed in traditional Indian attire, the students of the Sarvodaya Co-Educational Senior Secondary School in Moti Bagh welcomed the First Lady by applying “teeka” on her forehead. The students also staged cultural dance performances and gifted her Madhubani paintings made by them.
While addressing students, Melania Trump thanked the administration for welcoming her. “Thank you for welcoming me,” she said. “This is my first visit to India. People here are so welcoming and kind.”
After attending the “happiness class”, the First Lady said she was inspired to see that students begin their day by practising mindfulness and connecting with nature. “A healthy, positive example has been set for educators to ensure a promising future,” she added.
The “happiness curriculum” is a flagship scheme of the Delhi government that was introduced by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in July 2018. The curriculum focuses on the mental health of children, and involves 40 minutes of meditation, and other relaxing and outdoor activities.
The First Lady was given a tour of the school, where she visited a reading room, an activity room for kindergarten students, and also saw a yoga session. Massive security arrangements were made around the school ahead of her visit.
Ahead of her arrival, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had welcomed the First Lady and said he was happy that she will take back the “message of happiness” from the government school. “@FLOTUS will attend a happiness class in our school today,” he tweeted. “Great day for our teachers, students and Delhiites. For centuries, India has taught spirituality to the world. Am happy that she will take back the message of happiness from our school.”
Sisodia in a tweet said it was a proud moment for his education team. “Welcome to our school @FLOTUS!” he said. “We hope you would have a great time here in the Happiness Class. It’s just an 18-months-old initiative, but early results have made us confident that @HappinessDelhi is the ultimate solution to all violence & hate in mindsets that we are facing worldwide.”
Kejriwal and Sisodia were to welcome Melania Trump at the school and brief her about the rationale behind the “Happiness Classes”, and about the Delhi government’s other initiatives in the education sector. However, the United States embassy had decided to drop their names from the list of those invited for the event.
“While the US Embassy had no objection to the presence of the chief minister and the deputy chief minister, we appreciate their recognition that this is not a political event and that it is best to ensure that the focus is on education, the school, and the students,” a statement by the embassy said.
President Donald Trump and Melania Trump landed in Delhi on Monday night. Earlier on Monday, the president had addressed a massive gathering in Ahmedabad, and visited the Taj Mahal in Agra. On Tuesday, the couple visited Rajghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi.