Sony to use 'Indian Idol 2', 'Deal Ya No Deal' to push Shiksha social initiative

MUMBAI: Shiksha is back for its second run. The social initiative for underprivileged children Shiksha that Sony and Procter and Gamble (P&G) kicked off a couple of years ago. Child Relief and You (Cry) has joined hands to bolster the initiative.



The first run of Shiksha helped support the education of 11,000 children in 109 villages. To participate, consumers need to buy large packs of Ariel, Tide, Pantene, Head and Shoulders among other products from April to June 2006. A part of the proceeds will towards Shiksha. Additionally, P&G has committed at least Rs. 10 million towards Shiksha, regardless of the sales.

Sony will push Shiksha through two shows. An episode of the game show Deal Ya No Deal will see the winnings being donated to Shiksha. Indian Idol II will have participants mentioning the initiative. Also, PSAs will run urging viewers to buy the products and thus help children.



Sony executive VP sales and revenue management Rohit Gupta says, "As responsible corporate citizens, we at Sony feel that it is our responsibility to support social issues which are of national importance. This initiative is not about Sony or P&G. It is about Shiksha and our aim is to grow the Shiksha brand so that when people hear the word Shiksha they immediately think of underprivileged children."

Radio City is another media partner. The company is planning a primetime morning show where celebrities talk about their childhood experiences. The station also plans to have experts from Cry talk about the endeavour. Radio is a simple way to reach millions of listeners as it speaks in one voice. Maa TV is another partner. The Gruhalaxmi character Anusha will spread the message through PSAs. Raj TV will also push the initiative through its show Shrada.



Last year, Shiksha received strong support from consumers, the news media and influencers resulting in P&G contributing Rs. 1.26 crore which helped support the education of 11,000 children in 109 villages. P&G says that Shiksha is helping make a positive difference by working with the State Education Departments to re-look at existing education policies, creating awareness to build more schools with better infrastructure, enrolling more children into formal schools and building all-round development of children through education.

P&G India MD Shantanu Khosla says, "We believe that we must contribute to the communities in which we live and work. I have seen social programmes often started up by individuals come and go. However, helping children must be a sustained process. Inspired by consumers' contribution in 2005, we have made Shiksha an annual initiative and it remains a one-of-its kind initiative, providing the widest cross-section of consumers the easiest route to get involved in leading India's underprivileged children on the path to education, and be part of a program that makes a positive impact on a national scale. We look forward to increased contributions and educating thousands more. It has been wonderful working with Sony and Cry. "

Shiksha is being supported by many personalities. They include actress Mandira Bedi, actor Rahul Bose, Preeti Zinta, theatre personality Sanjana Kapoor, Lara Dutta and former Mumbai University c\vice chancellor Dr. Snehalata Deshmukh.

Bose remembers recently making an educational documentary. "Shiksha is not just about education. It is about making sure that kids are healthy. It is about making sure that villages are healthy and there is no rampant alchoholism. We in the media need to forget, temporarily at least, about the 11,500 point Sensex. If we only focus on that then there will always be an upper India and a lower India.

"Shiksha might be a drop in the ocean but it is a strong start. For social initiatives like this to move it is important for a triangle to work. This is the vision of the NGOs, the reach of the government and the financial assistance of corporates."

Bedi says, "Why does education today still remain the privilege of a few? There are no half measures possible which could work to provide education. It is important that education be looked at holistically and I am happy to support Shiksha that focusses not on token education but on holistic, quality education to children who might otherwise not see the inside of a school."



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