Every child has a dream; each dream is valid – for their dreams, thoughts, and aspirations make these children what they are.
Giving Every Dream A Chance
In an effort to provide overall development for its beneficiaries, The Akshaya Patra Foundation launched ‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’ – an initiative to nurture the unique aspirations of children. It is the Foundation’s attempt to identify children with special dreams and give them the opportunity to realise their dreams by providing mentorship programmes wherein children will be coached, groomed, and guided by the experts of respective fields.
‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’ was launched on 11 June 2016 at the Vivanta by Taj, Bengaluru, by Chief Guest, Mrs. Sudha Murty – Chairperson, Infosys Foundation and a benevolent supporter of Akshaya Patra.
In Chapter 1 of the initiative, three beneficiaries: Shivu, Manjula, and Shekar were given necessary mentorship and training through professionals in the field of their choice.
• Shivu with the aim to become an astronaut received an in-depth insight and understanding of the celestial world under the guidance of Ms. Preethi Krishnamurthy, Senior Research Fellow in Astrophysics.
• Manjula, a budding actress, received a thorough professional training in theatre and acting at the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama under the guidance of Dr. Zulfia Shaikh.
• Shekar a chef in the making, got an opportunity to hone his culinary skills at The Taj Vivanta, Bengaluru under the guidance of Chef Ramasamy Selvarju.
The success and goodwill received for the initiative in Chapter 1 motivated Akshaya Patra to script Chapter 2.
In the year 2017, 300 children from 15 Government Schools in Bengaluru, Hubballi, Hyderabad, and Vrindavan were mentored in their respective field of interest. These children received training in various fields, with the support of professionals and specific academies such as:
• Sri Raksha Natya Kala Academy for classical dance
• Just for Kicks & Team were the coaches for football goals of children
• Art& Design Studio for origami
• Vivanta by Taj for culinary workshop
• Spektrum Dance Studio for freestyle
• High Heels for contemporary
• Mr. Mahesh, a professional theatre artist for a well-written play on cleanliness
On 14 April 2018, an event was organised to showcase the talents of the children at The Taj Vivanta, Yeswantpur, Bengaluru. The stage was enlivened by a variety of performances ranging from vocal and instrumental music, folk and contemporary dances, theatre acts, on-stage origami creations, and remarkable display of math talent. All the performances received reverberating applauses and praises from the guests and audiences. Aside from the performances of beneficiary children, the audience witnessed enthralling performances of Vaishnav Girish – participant of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs and Indian Idol Junior, and Anjana Padmanabhan – First Indian Idol Junior Winner.
The event came to a close with the launch of the mascot ‘Sunny’ and the two child characters ‘Bhoomi’ and ‘Akash’ representing “Swachh Vidyarthi, Swachh Vidyalaya, Swachh Gruha” – an initiative by Akshaya Patra to achieve Swachh Bharat.
Guests and Dignitaries
The ‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’ Event on 14 April 2018 at The Taj Vivanta was graced by select guests and dignitaries from various spheres of profession and talent.
Director of CBI, Special Director General CRPF Screenwriter was the Chief Guest for the evening.
– Padma Shri Honoree Shri D. R. Kaarthikeyan, Advisor- Law Human Rights – Corporate Affairs and former Director General of National Human Rights Commission
– Mr. Roberto Narain – Head of Drumjam
– Mrs. Vasundhara Das – Singer, Actress, Composer, Lyricist, Entrepreneur and Environmental Activist
– Mrs. Mayuri Upadhya – Co-Founder and Director of Nritarutya Dance
– Arjun Halappa – Former Captain of the Indian Hockey Team.
The event was studded with prominent stars from the film and entertainment industry namely Suraj Gowda, Meghna Gaonkar, Dhananjay, Shruti Hariharan, Samyuktha Hegde, Vashista N Simha, Sonu Gowda, Ragini Dwivedi, Navdeep, Naveen, Arun Sagar, and Rajshri Ponnappa.
The event was presided by Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa – Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation in the presence of Shri Chanchalapati Dasa – Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and the Unit Presidents of Akshaya Patra kitchens from across the country.
Rajshri Ponnappa – “I am really honoured to get this chance to be a part of this platform, this opportunity that they (Akshaya Patra) are giving these children. Everybody deserves to dream and every dream deserves a chance. And, I think everybody coming here to support this, is fantastic.”
Roberto Narain – “My very reason to be here is – it’s very easy to talk but very difficult to do. So, the more you give the kids to go out and do things, we get the change we need.” When asked to define Akshaya Patra in three words, Narain said, I would rather define it in one word, that is ‘Dream’, and that’s the future.”
Vasundhara Das – Opining that the song ‘Any dream will do” rightly fits the initiative, she added, “It doesn’t matter what the dream is, what matters is how you go about getting there. And, a chance to follow your dream is the most precious thing in the world.”
Mayuri Upadhya – It’s truly an honour to be associated and be a part of such an event, such a beautiful initiative. And, Akshaya Patra definitely is doing a fantastic job. I have seen the documentaries on Akshaya Patra’s process of working in The Great Kitchens series, and they are right from the grass root level. I think every child is so different, every child is gifted with a very different intelligence whether it’s with art or sports. And, what we should do as a society and as an initiative is to create the best and suitable environment for it to flourish and blossom. And, that is being held and Akshaya Patra has taken the forefront in it.” She also acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the mentors in guiding and coaching the children.
Samyuktha Hegde – “After seeing all of them (children) today, I am really glad and happy that our country is growing towards the idea of not just becoming engineers and doctors, but everything else that a child wants to be. I am glad to be a part of this.”
Arun Sagar – “If there’s innocence, we are all children. This was a really good act. I really liked it. Children’s performance was superb. What’s truly exciting to me is, I learn more when I work with children. It feels like I’m with God. For the organisation that is involved in this initiative must provide opportunities to all the children and also encourage them.”
For the complete video of the event, follow us on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/akshayapatra
The Journey Will Continue…
Akshaya Patra is looking forward to scaling up this initiative to transform lives of 5000 beneficiary children in the year 2018-19.
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Read more about the event at Giving Every Dream A Chance 2018.