Indian slums a life changer

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Napier student Natalie Fretton.
Camera IconNapier student Natalie Fretton.

Living in the urban slums of Bangalore, India, was a life-changing experience for Natalie Fretton.

The Napier student, who is a law and society major at the University of WA, completed a three-week fellowship program in India with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship.

Ms Fretton, pictured towards the back of the crowd with blonde hair, visited Bangalore city, home to more than 10 million people.

Ms Fretton and Ms Bull in Bangalore.
Camera IconMs Fretton and Ms Bull in Bangalore.

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The 21-year-old lived in the slum part of the city for three weeks to help Pollinate Group empower local women to get out of poverty through employment and job training.

“Our project was largely designed to enable Pollinate to better understand the needs of its customers and to be able to provide accurate information to potential/current donors and stakeholders,” she said.

Ms Fretton said the experience has made her reconsider many of the things she took for granted.

“Personally, I was probably most surprised to realise the level of unconscious bias that I was taking into this experience,” she said.

“While I tried to bring an unbiased perspective into the fellowship, being in Bangalore and particularly entering the communities for the first time, made me realise the extent to which I was relying on stereotypical ideas of India as a whole and particularly those living in urban slum communities.”

Ms Fretton said Pollinate Group’s mission to improve female empowerment and self-sufficiency aligned directly with her personal and professional plans.

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