A telethon led by Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar helped raise pledges worth Rs136 million (Dh9.4 million) towards the revitalisation of 272 schools across India.
The telethon was a culmination of a six-month campaign called Support My School supported by Coca-Cola and broadcaster NDTV. The Coca-Cola Foundation committed Rs25 million for the purpose.
For the first time ever, the 12-hour telethon was also being streamed live on Tendulkar’s Facebook page and also on video sharing website YouTube.
The second edition of the Support My School telethon, held at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai was kicked off by Coca-Cola India & South West Asia president and CEO Atul Singh, NDTV India CEO Vikram Chandra, campaign ambassador Tendulkar and Rai Bachchan.
Several celebrities including Ayushmann Khurrana, Cyrus Broacha and Boman Irani also offered support and joined the telethon. Ajay Devgn and Kajol, who contributed in the first year also, joined in to help support the cause.
“Telethon 2013 has once again been an overwhelming experience with higher levels of enthusiasm and support for the ‘Support My School’ campaign than ever before. The campaign is very close to my heart and I am delighted at the response we have received this time from individuals and corporations alike,” Tendulkar said.
Rai Bachchan expressed joy for being able to support the campaign.
“As a mother, I understand the urge to provide your child with the best opportunities available to help them grow and prosper. Every child deserves these opportunities, every girl needs to know that she herself is a beacon of hope and has the power to influence her future,” she said.
Actress Kajol, who with husband Ajay Devgn has been actively involved in social work, says getting associated with causes is part of social responsibility and it is their way to return something to the society.
The 38-year-old, along with her actor husband, donated Rs.10 lakh.
“I believe it is part of our social responsibility. It is different when you are 16 years old and it is different when you are at our age. Ajay and I think this as our social responsibility and specially after having kids. We feel the need to give back and in a different way, not in regular cinematic way,” she said.
Talking about the couple’s association with various social organisations, Kajol added: “If we feel passionately about something, we always get through. Passion is something which connects everyone. I hope other people too come forward and support various causes.
“I don’t think we can stand up for everything, but what we do stand up for, are we feel passionate about like save the girl child, education, and literacy. We believe, these are the things that will make a difference and make our country grow.”
An endeavour to get better facilities in schools in rural and semi-urban towns, Support My School campaign has impacted as many as 100 schools by providing them with improved amenities like access to clean water, proper sanitation, and sports facilities among others.
Kajol, a mother two, feels education is a “basic necessity” for a child.
“There is so much going on in the world today. Education can help and protect your child in numerable ways,” said the actress known for playing a mom in films like “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” and “My Name Is Khan”.
Last seen in 2010 film “We Are Family”, she feels that celebs’ support to any cause certainly makes a difference.
“Their association brings more focus on the whole issues. It brings a different kind of publicity and also spreads awareness. A normal person would pay more attention if it comes from someone they know. Celebrities or known faces bring a lot to the table,” she said.
Currently busy with her home and children - daughter Nysa and son Yug - Kajol hopes to get back to work next year.