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The billion-plus people of India are experiencing phenomenal growth in their middle class, yet millions currently live in poverty in crowded urban slums. That was a focus of Senator Mark Warner’s visit today as he continues to lead a five-member congressional trip to India. 

In New Delhi this morning, Senator Warner helped announce a new partnership between Virginia’s community colleges and a leading nonprofit foundation to expand skills-based training in India.

He also met with LK Advani, the president of India’s main opposition BJP party. The delegation also met with a group of leading Indian energy company executives to discuss opportunities for U.S. companies to import clean tech and renewable energy technologies.

Later, in Jaipur, Senator Warner visited an urban slum where the U.S. State Department has been working to improve health, water and sanitation services.

At the Anganwadi Center, he met with a group of women who were using a laptop computer to communicate via Skype with a more established women’s group in Agra. The computer-based communication allows women in isolated, urban slums to connect with each other and discuss issues such as microfinance, family and children’s health.

“You have spoken about the unique challenges you face as women residents of this slum. We are very impressed with you for having the courage and the hope to bring about positive change, and your use of computers in this setting is innovative and exciting,” Senator Warner told them. “We believe that when women organize and act, they can achieve the impossible, and we salute that spirit in you.”

And in a poor community where safe drinking water is an issue, the delegation also watched a puppet show which teaches young children about good hygiene and healthy behaviors.