Ready to run together for a good cause
It was an unseasonably warm summer day in Bangalore, the 27th of May, the sun bright and early in a cloudless sky. The fifth edition of the Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Run, a front line distance running event, had over 21,000 participants gathering at the Kanteerava Stadium, all set to go.
The ten-kilometre road running competition, a premium internationally-affiliated event, attracted elite athletes from many parts of the world. The total prize money on offer was $170,000. The run is staged under the aegis of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) and the Karnataka Athletic Association (KAA) and is supported by the Government of Karnataka, the Chief Minister the Chief Patron of the Organising Committee.
Over the years, the TCS World 10K Run has grown into a stage for philanthropy and goodwill, encouraging citizens to reach out in aid of a cause or charity. Non-governmental organizations find it a platform to garner support and raise money for their efforts.
Akshara was there this time to communicate the nature of its work and contribution to education to a larger audience. The idea was to generate awareness of the need for Better Schooling in Government Schools and raise funds, particularly for its preschool programme, which provides quality preschool education for nearly 32,000 children in all 1778 government-run anganwadis in Bangalore.
Preparations had begun in March, with the team motivating, through personal contact, corporate professionals and citizens from all walks of life to take part in the marathon as Akshara’s ambassadors. Those two and a half months were forerunners of the run. The mood at the Akshara office was hectic - the team getting T-shirts for the runners emblazoned with the Akshara logo and designing banners evocatively advocating education.
The Akshara team was there early, ready for the day. 126 young and old men and women, ran for Akshara's cause. To create an awareness on the importance of education, Out of them, 22 runners committed to the ten kilometre segment and 104 participated in what was called the Majja Run, an edited, fun version of 5-7 kilometres, walking, running or simply taking leisurely strides, absorbing the moment. They represented a sweep of companies - IBM, Hewlett Packard, Target India, MindTech, NXP, Bosch, Wipro and Dell. The Akshara team itself, along with employees and trustees enthusiastically participated in the event.
What motivated them to run for Akshara? What was their experience like? What was their takeaway from the event?
Upendra of NXP says, “Akshara’s work deserves a lot of praise. Its mission, its activities geared toward achieving targets in education are inspiring, commendable, honourable.On the morning of the run there was a vibrant buzz around the Akshara camp. It intensified as the run started and even at the end that excitement stayed with us. With Akshara’s meaningful catch lines and the challenge of completing the run the entire experience was exciting. For me personally the experience ended on a high when I gave away most of my end-of-the-run refreshments to desolate little kids. My takeaway is that I was made aware of the ways in which I can contribute to the education of children.
Amit Saha of Hewlett Packard says, “I have admired Akshara Foundation’s work. I tried to be a part of its library programme one and a half years ago. I liked the idea of the run. I feel very close to the Akshara cause I ran for. I identify with it.It was exciting, electrifying - the vibrancy, the stadium full of colour, people cheering. It was a new experience for me, the Majja Run, wearing the Akshara T-shirt, holding the placard. I organised 15-20 people from different companies for the run and made sure all of them were present. If we contribute our bit we can solve a number of problems. All of us running together for a noble cause felt great. It felt good to be part of something bigger than yourself.”
Through various sources, Akshara was able to raise around US $10,300. This was a good amount for us, considering that we were participating for the first time in the event.
We would like Thank You for believing in our cause and donating to us through this event. Every contribution will help a child to get better and quality pre-school education in Government-run Anganwadis in Bangalore.
Children from our libraries spreading the message