The campaign started with the Campaign Ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar unveiling the campaign logo along with Mr. Atul Singh, President & CEO, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, and Dr. Prannoy Roy, Chairman, NDTV.
— Coca-Cola India and NDTV in association with their NGO partners, UN-Habitat, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and Sulabh International, today embarked upon a unique initiative – ‘Support My School’. The campaign aims to develop healthy, active and happy schools in rural and semi-urban towns. This movement aims to improve basic amenities in schools and subsequently generate monetary resources for over 100 schools across the country.
The campaign started with the Campaign Ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar unveiling the campaign logo along with Mr. Atul Singh, President & CEO, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, and Dr. Prannoy Roy, Chairman, NDTV. Also present to lend their support were, Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Telecom and Human Recourse Development (HRD), Dr. Kulwant Singh, Advisor, UN-HABITAT, Mr. Subodh Bhargava, Chairman, CAF India, Ms. Abha Bahadur, Senior Vice-President Sulabh International Social Service Organization, Actor and Activist Dia Mirza and CEO, CAF India, Amita Puri, Actor, Raveena Tandon and Members of the Parliament, Priya Dutt and Sanjay Raut..
Lack of basic amenities in schools not only results in increased absenteeism but also in high dropout rate, especially among girls. This six month campaign will not only generate awareness about such issues but will also create 100 model schools in villages and towns with the help of all partners associated with this campaign. Some of the activities undertaken as a part of this campaign will include provision of improved access to water, appropriate sanitation facility for girls and boys, improvement in the overall infrastructure and environment, provision for sports and recreation facilities such as cricket, badminton & basket ball courts, swings etc and recharging groundwater through rainwater harvesting.
Speaking at the occasion cricketing legend and campaign ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar, said, “I am honored to be associated with this noble campaign. It is my belief that a multi lateral partnership of this kind is an appropriate initiative to catalyze a movement towards building healthy, active and happy schools. As a firm believer in the cause, I would urge all sections of the society to come forward and contribute to the betterment of schools and overall education system in the country.”
A school in Jhundpur village (Sonepat) in Haryana, was the first school that benefited under the “Support My School initiative. The project supported the school by aiding infrastructural work such as building hygienic sanitation facilities especially for girls, setting up a rain water harvesting unit, providing improved access to water, renovating the sports grounds to promote healthy and active living and improving the environment. As a part of the inaugural contribution towards this fund raising initiative, Coca-Cola & UNHABITAT have pledged Rs. 1 Crore to the Support My School campaign. The campaign over the next 6 months will raise further monetary resources from public. The fundraising will peak with a telethon hosted by Sachin Tendulka in mid 2011.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Atul Singh, President & CEO, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, said “We believe that the role of business in the 21st century is not just about creating shareholder value but also promote the sustainability of the environment and local communities. In addition to our focus on environment and water, we have also been focused on education because we believe that education is the basis of social change. Today we are providing infrastructure support to several schools, have instituted scholarships to support needy students and also organize the annual Limca Book of Records Quiz across nearly 3500 schools. We are extremely pleased to be a part of SUPPORT MY SCHOOL campaign and are thankful to all the partners for having believed in this movement and for coming together to launch the initiative today.”
According to Dr. Prannoy Roy, Chairman, NDTV, “Numerous research studies have shown that the biggest reason for the high drop-out rate of the girl child in our schools is the lack of facilities, like toilets, for them. One of the several aims of this campaign is to provide these facilities for our girl students. Please join us to help make a difference to our schools all around the country.”
Explaining the project and implementation model, Dr. Kulwant Singh, Advisor, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) said, “A child needs holistic nature of education. Hence to help set up such schools with enhanced facilities for holistic education, our primary focus of this campaign will be capacity building, promoting water conservation, sanitation and hygiene education” According to Subodh Bhargava, Chairman of CAF India Board, “Education is the foundation for a nation to grow and develop and sustain the progress in the long run. This project is our endeavor to empower the underprivileged sections of the society through education by providing the necessary infra-structural aid to the children of the school.
Ms. Abha Bahadur, Senior Vice-President Sulabh International Social Service Organization highlighted the need to set up examples and said, “Access to basic amenities including water and sanitation is a basic necessity for a child to engage in learning at school and absorb the teachings. The initiative will help in focusing the child’s attention back in the school.”
Source: Press release distribution via India PRwire
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