India: At the Chief Minister’s residence

Sometimes working behind the scenes can be as interesting as being on the frontlines. This was a big moment for Save the Children India‘s EVERYONE campaign: a reception hosted by Ms Sheila Dikshit, chief Minister of Delhi, India’s capital, at her residence.

So there we were, the two of us, ensuring lights, sounds, camera for the EVERY ONE event while her office staff were preparing for the evening dinner, making sure everything was in keeping with the stature of the head of the state.

While the Chief Minister (CM) runs the state, there is an efficient team running her office, including security, logistics and administrative staff, a press office and her personal assistant. They are all powerful in their own ways, sharing a closeness of trust with the seat of power.

Whiskey (yes, that’s what the CM’s dog is called), came prancing around as we set things up. Her daughter accompanied the dog with an offer of fresh lime juice welcome respite to the sweltering heat.

Before the delegates arrived, we had to brief the Chief Minister about the EVERY ONE campaign, aimed at stopping children under the age of five dying from easily preventable causes. She graciously ambled out of her living room to meet the event/ campaign managers. Yes, that was my five minutes of fame with the CM.

Guests started pouring in, including Ambassadors, CEOs of Save the Children Member countries, corporate honchos and us, to the well-lit lawn.

The chief minister led every one present to sign up their support to the campaign. Placing her thumbprint on a specially-erected wall aimed at mobilizing messages of support for EVERY ONE, the Chief Minister joked that she wouldn’t normally put her thumbprint on a blank wall but was making an exception in this case considering it was a pledge of support to save the lives of children. Her message: “Save our planet, Save the children – Every One of them.”

Find out more about the EVERYONE campaign in India.

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  • BeninBangkok

    Well done on getting the backing of the Delhi Chief Minister. Now she has publically signed up to doing all she can. Help her to deliver on the promise, and remind her (privately, then publically) if she forgets!

  • Neha Sabharwal

    It was undeniably an impressive experience.
    I totally agree with you on the warmness and efficiency of her support staff. They agreed and adhered to each and every one of our requests with a smile.
    There were two more things (not quite related to each other though) that stood out for me that day.
    It was around 6 pm, just when everything was almost in place, that we were suddenly swamped by hundreds of enormous “fruit bats” flying in from every direction to settle on the trees in the chief minister’s backyard. At this point, the CM’s daughter revealed to us that the number of bats has increased in this area by hundreds since the CM moved there, as according to Indian tradition bats are considered unlucky and were shooed away by the CM’s predecessors. However, Mrs. Dixit had warmly welcomed these bats to make their homes in her back yard.
    The other thing that stood out for me, was the accessibility to her- If you remember, her security guards mentioned that a layman can just book an appointment and meet her, as easily as we did. This statement was made more believable after the chief minister came to us herself at the dinner and asked “girls have you had mangoes?” reassuring me of how reachable she was.

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