IMPACT
01/27/2015 06:36 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obamas Honor Work Of 12-Year-Old Child Slave Turned Activist During India Trip

Promoting gender equality was vital in President Obama's message to India, so it made sense that a 12-year-old female activist who has overcome incredible odds was there to draw attention to the American leader's message.

And to share a heartfelt moment with the first lady, too.

During a stop on the Obamas' trip to the South Asian country on Tuesday, photographers caught a smiley exchange between Michelle Obama and 12-year-old Payal Jangid, a victim of slavery turned children's rights advocate, ABC News reported.

Payal and two other children who escaped slavery met with the Obamas at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi alongside Kailash Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year with Malala Yousafzai for his work promoting children's rights, according to the Associated Press.

Satyarthi’s NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, is responsible for rescuing Payal.

payal jangid
President and Michelle Obama meet with Kailash Satyarthi, third from right, his wife Sumedha Satyarth, left, with Payal Jangid, right, at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

During the weeklong trip, the president met with Indian officials to focus on mutual goals of enhancing clean energy practices, discussed global trade and partook in the country's Republic Day festivities, according to the White House.

But he ended the visit on gender equality.

"We know from experience that nations are more successful when their women are successful," Obama said in a speech on Tuesday to mostly students and media representatives, according to Reuters.

The outlet reported that gender equality has become a hot-button issue in India after a woman was gang raped and murdered in December 2012. The incident sparked protests and called for improvement for women in regards to health, education and employment.

Payal leads the Child Parliament in her Indian village where many people live in poverty and girls are often forced into child marriage -- according to the World's Children's Prize. As the leader of the group, Payal is fighting for positive change, and demanding men respect women for the betterment of all.

“We visit children at home and explain to their parents why school is important," Payal, who wants to become a teacher some day, said. "We also tell fathers not to beat their children or wives. If they behave in a loving way, life is better for everyone.”

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Michelle Obama
CONVERSATIONS