CRY telethon on Sony raises over Rs 10 million

MUMBAI: India’s first ever telethon, organised by CRY for child rights met with astounding success, thanks to the tremendous response by viewers. For seven hours on Republic Day the entire nation was involved in the movement for ensuring child rights for Indian children.

Celebrities shared their own experiences of childhood, highlighted the situation of children in India and urged viewers to contribute time or money towards changing children’s lives. People were able to pledge via sms, phone, the Internet and Citi-phone banking. The show was able to generate Rs 10.4 million from viewers all over the country.

Says CRY CEO Ingrid Srinath, “We are overwhelmed by the response we have received from the people of India. It has strengthened our belief that collectively this peoples’ movement will ensure every Indian child is guaranteed rights to development, protection, survival and participation."The show hosted celebrities from different walks of life. Some of the more memorable appearances were by Javed Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Sanjeev Kapoor, Pankaj Udhas, Shahid Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Pallavi Joshi, Boman Irani, Shaan, Javed Jaffrey, Raveena Tandon, Jagjit Singh, Suresh Wadkar and Harsha Bhogle.

The show opened with the CRY telethon anthem Mera Bhi toh Adhikaar Hai - a song specially composed for the event by Aadesh Shrivastava, the lyrics written by Javed Akhtar. The song was performed by some the industry’s most eminent singers like Abhijeet, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Shaan, Alka Yagnik, Babul Supriyo, Sneha Ghoshal, Vijayta Pandit, Saapna Mukherjee, Udit Narayan and Shraddha Pandit. It also featured Aadesh Shrivastava’s sons Avitesh and Anivesh, Alka Yagnik’s daughter Sayesha, Abhijeet’s son Jai and Shaan’s son Soham who added to the spirit of the song.Mini Mathur and Alyy Khan who hosted the show brought key issues affecting the country’s children to the fore. Some very insightful inputs were given by Javed Akhtar on the vicious cycle of poverty leading to child labour leading to lack of education leading to poverty. Shah Rukh Khan spoke about how important it is to give children a happy, carefree childhood. Sachin Tendulkar talked about equity for all irrespective of caste, class, religion or gender. Rahul Bose talked about how important it is to empower women and stop gender discrimination. Abhishek Bachchan appealed to people to make a difference, within the scope of their lives even if only one child’s life is changed, it would all add up. Pallavi Joshi spoke about the importance of a normal childhood with each sibling being treated equally. Raveena Tandon talked about equity and the importance of supporting girl children.

The show also had corporate participants like B S Nagesh, CEO, Shoppers Stop, who stressed on how education was important for the future of India. Satish Sohoni, COO Tata Chemicals – showed faith in CRY as experts who tackle children’s issues in a holistic manner and spoke about the long association with CRY on the Desh Ko Arpan Programme. Swadesh Khetawat, MD of Plus Business machines committed time, skill and resources of the 120 strong employee force of Plus Business machines.Children from CRY supported projects like Rachana, Aarambh and Salah participated along with children from Suresh Wadkars singing academy, and Rael Padamsee’s ACE academy.

The objective of the CRY telethon was raising awareness on children’s rights to survival, development, participation and protection was successfully met. It highlighted every child’s right to explore her potential, to play, to dream, to a secure environment – essentially to a childhood.

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