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The Prince of Wales visits New Delhi, India

30th October 2003

On the second full day of engagements of his tour of The Republic of India, The Prince of Wales carried out visits which spanned three of his key areas of interest: young people, organic food and complementary medicine.

The first visit of the day was to a shelter for homeless women and children in New Delhi.

The charity, ActionAid, has created a safe haven for vulnerable women and very young children.

Homelessness is a major problem in New Delhi, more than 100,000 people are homeless in the capital city, with children, women, the elderly and the disabled particularly susceptible to harassment and abuse.

When The Prince entered the homeless hostel, the women and children greeted him with great excitement.

One young woman called Gita, aged 14, presented him with a red and yellow twisted friendship bracelet which she carefully tied around his left wrist.

A little girl, suffering from a fever, was meant to be confined to her bed but was too excited and rushed to meet the Royal guest.

A spokeswoman for Clarence House said afterwards: “The Prince was visibly moved by what he heard and saw.”

The women and children live in a cabin made of tin walls and with a corrugated iron roof. Their most prized possessions are their oils and shampoos which are kept with their blankets in individual lockers containing all their worldly goods.

Director of the shelter Paramjeet Kaur said: “Most of the women are suffering psychological disorders and from shock: “They have seen so much of life.”

Many of them were orphans who were forced to beg on the streets and eat food from temples to survive.

During his visit to the Anugriha - which means halfway home ”“ The Prince met five people who were being honoured as “invisible leaders of society”.

One of the five being honoured was Mahadev Rajmane, who was framed for a murder he did not commit, but studied law in jail and freed himself in a High Court appeal. He now helps other wrongly convicted prisoners to use their legal rights.

For the second engagent of the day, The Prince travelled to the Navdanya Organic Food Store in the Dilli Haat market in Delhi.

The food court was surrounded by eucalyptus trees, the trunks of which were entwined with streams of orange marigolds, and sheltered at the sides by white drapes. A garland of red roses was placed around The Prince's neck and a puja ceremony was performed for him with lighted candles.

His Royal Highness took a seat at a table to sample some of the produce including drinks of lychee and rhododendron juice, rajma ke kebab (kidney bean) which are said to strengthen the stomach, semolina salted steamed cakes and pancakes made from the Besan pulse.

The Prince, who is a strong supporter of organic food, pronounced the dishes “very good.”