Charanya R Iyengar and Vishwas Iyengar

“What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.”
-John Bingham, running writer and speaker

Hello everyone! Welcome (and for some of you “Welcome Back”) to our Strides of Hope runner’s page!  We are both thrilled to be part of Asha for Education – Austin’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 selected the Philadelphia Marathon and the 3M Half Marathon as our target races. Through long distance running, we have been able to year after year push our bodies’ endurance level. We do it because we know that we are helping make a difference, however small/big it may be. The more finish lines we cross, the more we are able to contribute towards a child completing his/her education. We truly believe that education is the key ingredient in creating a society that is free from the vicious circle of poverty, child labor and illiteracy.

We both steward a project called 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 us a better insight into how Asha is making a difference in their lives. As we see new graduates every year continue their education or enter the work force with much confidence and pride, it reaffirms our decision to have become active Asha volunteers and Team Asha participants.

Our goal is to raise sufficient funds to sponsor the food expenses for 100 children in Jeevan Gnanodaya for a full year via the Support-A-Child (SAC) program. SAC is a program in which Asha Austin partners with its projects in India to provide for an underprivileged child’s education/total living expenses. However SAC is more than funding a child in need. It is an opportunity for you as a sponsor to develop one to one correspondence and interaction with a special child.

The total cost to support a child’s food expenses in the school is $120 for one year which translates to $10/month.

$10 per month. Now that’s something we think most of us can afford to donate by simply choosing not to eat out for one meal every month. But the difference that will make in a child’s life in the school is immense. Proper nutrition for children will reinforce lifelong eating habits that will contribute to their overall well-being and help them to stay focused in school and help them grow to their full potential and lead a healthy life. $10 per month will provide the children with 3 healthy meals every single day. In return, we will match you with a child in the school, enable you to keep in touch with the child, and provide bi-yearly progress reports.

We hope that you can sponsor our cause, by sponsoring a child for the 2011-2012 school year. You can either donate $120 to support a whole year, or $60 to support half a year. You can also choose to just donate 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!

Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. And we request you, my dear family and friends, to help us do more for these wonderful kids! Check out our running blogs to learn more about our training adventures!

Vishwas’ Blog

Charanya’s Blog

Team Asha Austin’s Facebook Page (LIKE us and get all our latest program updates! ) 🙂

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Charanya and Vishwas

** Corporate matching is a great way to automatically match your donations. Please do check if your company has a matching program. You can also contact us if you have any specific questions. Some companies that have matching programs are AMD, Dell GE, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, National Instruments, Nvidia, Oracle, Qualcomm, Silicon Labs, Synopsys and Wachovia.