MUMBAI: With an aim to promote better infrastructure facilities in rural schools, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar Monday endorsed an initiative ‘Support My School’.
A joint initiative of Coca Cola and NDTV, organisations like UN-Habitat, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and Sulabh International have also partnered for the cause.
"I am extremely honoured to be part of this campaign," Tendulkar said.
"I can’t wait to make things happen and contribute towards this initiative. I hope we are able to achieve our dreams and bring smiles to the faces of children and their parents," said Tendulkar who was present along with his wife Anjali.
The campaign will focus on improving sanitation in schools. "Children-especially girls-often drop out of schools because they do not have working bathrooms," Tendulkar said adding that "a multilateral partnership of this kind is an appropriate initiative to catalyse such a movement."
Wishing the campaign a great success through video conferencing, Union HRD and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal congratulated Tendulkar for endorsing the cause.
"In your long innings as a cricketer, you have shown remarkable endurance. I wish you show similar endurance in your endeavour to support this cause," he said.
The six-month campaign will end with a fund-raising telethon hosted by Tendulkar.
Coca Cola India and UN-Habitat pledged Rs one crore for the cause that will focus on providing sustainable sanitation facilities, infrastructural development, improved access to clean drinking water, renovating the grounds to promote physical sports and equipping rain water harvesting for more than 100 schools across India.
A school in Jhundpur village in Haryana was the first to benefit under the programme. Children of the school interacted with Tendulkar through video conferencing and requested him to make a visit to their new improved school.
"We believe that the role of business in the 21st century is not just about creating shareholder value, but also to promote the sustainability of the environment and local communities. We are pleased to be a part of this initiative," said Atul Singh, President and CEO of Coca Cola India and south-west Asia.
NDTV Chairman Prannoy Roy mentioned that several research studies have shown that the biggest reason for a girl child to drop out of school is lack of sustainable sanitation.
"One of the several aims of this campaign is to provide these facilities to our girl students. I would request everyone to join us to help make a difference to our schools all around the country," Roy said.
Also present at the event were advisor of UN-Habitat Kulwant Singh, Chairman of CAF Subodh Bhargava and senior vice president of Sulabh International, Abha Bahadur along with an array of celebrities like actors Diya Mirza and Ravina Tandon, ad film maker Prahlad Kakkar, Cookery show host and chef Sanjeev Kapoor, writer Anil Dharker, and parliamentarian Sanjay Nirupam.(IANS)