Charanya R Iyengar and Vishwas Iyengar

Hello there! Thanks so much visiting our Strides of Hope page! We are both thrilled to be part of Asha’s Strides of Hope program once again this season. Asha for Education is a zero-overhead, volunteer-driven organization that works on education in India in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change. This season, we have 2 target races, the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon and the Chevron Houston Marathon. We have both run with Team Asha in the past, but this year is extra special for us since by the end of the season, one of us would have run our 1st marathon ever, and the other one of us would have completed 5 marathons in 5 consecutive years! Why have we indulged in what some people call “madness”?? Read on!  🙂


The great Roger Bannister (distance running champion) said- “No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” – and I could not agree more. It is all about participating, the rest is a bonus. I have been lucky enough to be running races for over 2 years now and I do it because I can make a difference, however small/big it may be. This is my 3rd year with Team Asha, and my first attempt at running a marathon. I have had an incredible time running half marathons thus far, but this season, I wanted to challenge myself with the 26.2 mile distance. I truly believe that basic education is very important as it provides a strong foundation in life. Education is the key ingredient in creating a society that is free from the vicious circle of poverty, child labor and illiteracy. According to the latest survey by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in June 2008, the Indian literacy rate among the population with age 7 and above was 72% whereas the adult population (age15 and above) had a literacy rate of 66%. India currently has the largest illiterate population of any nation on earth. Through participating in this program, I hope I can help bridge this gap at least a little. Do check out my blog to learn about my training efforts and race reports.


Firstly I just want to thank all of you who have supported my Team Asha efforts thus far. With your generosity over the past 4 years, I was able to raise more than $10000 for Asha Austin’s projects. This year, I continue to be the project coordinator for Jeevan Gnanodaya School for the Deaf, based in Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu. Jeevan Gnanodaya is a school that educates speech and hearing impaired children from poor, rural backgrounds. Working with the school management and interacting with the children directly has really given me a better insight into how Asha is making a difference in their lives. As I see new graduates every year continue their education or enter the work force with much confidence and pride, it reaffirms my decision to be an Asha volunteer and a Team Asha participant. This season, I will be running my 4th and 5th marathons, and I look forward to not only accomplishing my fitness goals, but also to helping sponsor another school year for the children at Jeevan Gnanodaya. Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. And I request you, my dear family and friends, to help me do more for these wonderful kids! Check out my running blog to learn more about my training adventures.

Our goal is to raise at least $2000 for Asha for Education, and specifically for Jeevan Gnanodaya. Asha for Education is the recipient of the top rating of 4 stars in an independent survey of charity organizations worldwide in the category International Development and Relief Services. We hope that you can sponsor our cause, by donating however much you can. No amount is too little. We believe that it is important to not just do what we can, but to do what it takes to make a difference in the lives of these children! Thanks for your support!

** If you would like to donate to an Asha Austin project other than the ones we have specified, please do let us know and we can help facilitate that.

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