Apr 14 2010 By Tara Brady, Harrow Observer
SARAH BROWN visited the spectacular Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden on Sunday to celebrate the amazing achievements of women around the world.
The Prime Minister's wife was attending a conference called Celebrating Women: Past, Present and Future at the temple.
The event was the culmination of a month-long nationwide campaign, which began on International Women's Day on March 8.
The temple put on a series of seminars, workshops and discussions to celebrate the achievements of women and inspire them to fulfil their potential.
Mrs Brown, 46, arrived at the temple at 10.15am and was greeted in traditional Hindu manner with a flower garland and the tying of an auspicious thread around her wrist, signifying goodwill and friendship.
After touring the temple, or mandir as it is called in the ancient Sanskrit language, and paying her respects in the inner sanctum, the Prime Minster's wife entered the assembly hall to rapturous applause.
Mrs Brown spoke of her work on women's issues as well as her campaign for safe motherhood and highlighted the sad plight of mothers and young babies in developing nations.
She also praised the work and commitment of Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent South, who is one of only two black women in Parliament and who was appointed the first black female minister in a UK government.
Ms Butler said: "This was a historic occasion, with women taking over and filling the entire mandir.
"It was a pleasure not only as the MP for the mandir, which Sarah referred to as one of the eight wonders of the world, but also to introduce a phenomenal woman such as Sarah Brown.
"Sarah has been an activist for many years working tirelessly for various charities.
"When she spoke so passionately about her white ribbon charity (a coalition that works to increase awareness to make pregnancy and
childbirth safe for women worldwide) there was hardly a dry eye in the house.
"International Women's Day is a time that all women should be celebrated. One thing was for certain and that was that there was not one man around who did not owe his life to a woman."
Councillor Zaffar Van Kalwala (Labour), from Stonebridge Ward, added: "It was wonderful to have Sarah Brown attend and speak about her work on women's issues.
"Sarah's passion and commitment is an inspiration, not only for women but for men as well who can also appreciate the active role women play in society."