Come October 22, Class XI students across India can indulge in fun and fitness programmes to support students of Zilla Parishad schools that includes a high school at Billalavalasa and primary schools from villages of Ippalavalasa, Bhagiradhipuram, Kondalaveru, Korlam, Badam, Kunchigumadam and Siriyalapeta in Merakamudidam mandal of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh.
The virtual fund-raising event ‘Run for a Better Future’ organised by Hyderabad-based NGO Balamitra Foundation extends support by way of books, sports equipment, art kits, scholarships, vidya volunteer support and menstrual hygiene management. There are also plans to provide digital access to the students of Heal School, Vijayawada. The five day event is from October 22 to October 26.
The Foundation started five years ago with a goal to have young adults lead the fundraising and volunteering activities. “The intent was to help children help their peers from the less-privileged background,” informs Chandrika Kanumuri, managing trustee of the Foundation. The first event, a 5k Run in 2019 at Gachibowli stadium Hyderabad, had a student council leading from the front. Funds from the entry fee and registration (for ₹ 500) were used to buy sports equipment, library books, menstrual hygiene kits.
Owing to the pandemic, the event in 2020 went virtual with 300 participants sharing videos of their activity — either running or cycling. This year too it is a virtual one with a team of seven student volunteers spreading the word and bringing in registrations. “Our goal here is two-fold – raise funds for our cause and encourage participants to work on their fitness,” adds Chandrika. While the participants get e-certificates, student finishers are awarded Community Service hours on their certificates and Top 3 finishers in each category will receive medals and gifts too
Run for a Better Future
- October 22-26
- Categories: Running 20km/Cycling 50km over a span of 5 days
- Registration: ₹500 (no foreign donations)
Nandini Raju, from Chirec International School from this year’s group reaches out to her peers via Instagram (@balamitrafoundation). “We are seven members and have different ideas and point of views. By working together, we are learning how to listen to one another and ensure every member’s ideas is heard. We also speak to different types of people — sponsors, volunteers, school principals and campaign heads and this experience is teaching us how to talk to different age group people.”
The earlier student council members share heart-warming stories of how this initiative has impacted their lives. Over an email, Sannidhi Krovvidi, currently pursuing her under-graduation at the University of California says, “The opportunity to be a volunteer and student council member taught me so much. Being able to go to Vizianagaram and interact with the girls was beyond what I imagned about community service. The whole experience, all the emotions and exchanges that happened were raw and genuine.” Another former member Venkat Kandukuri says, “The emphasis on youth-led initiatives, menstrual awareness and civic mobility transfigured my notion of community engagement.”
Balamitra in Telugu means ‘Child who is a friend’ and the attempt is to lend a helping hand, make new friends and be connected,” concludes Chandrika.