The journey to brighten the lives of girl students began in 2014, but that would be too far back, so let’s just start from last weekend.
7 of us left from Majestic on Sunday evening and after a shaky ride, arrive at Athani in the morning. The good folks from Aviratha who travelled with us landed in an IB and we set up shop at a friend-of-a-friend’s place. Mr. Udaya Kumar Gunda was a great host and his family welcomed us warmly into their house and their dining tables. After quickly washing off the soreness of travel and a fantastic breakfast at their house, we headed towards JA College auditorium, where we were to felicitate the beneficiaries of the proceedings from Keli Katheya – the Kannada audio book. The 16 girl students who has scored 125/125 in Kannada at their SSLC exams were yet to arrive and we got to work setting up the auditorium.
The college staff were very accommodating and went out of their way to ensure that our event was successful. From helping us change the venue to a spacious hall, to securing a nice blue screen to cover the bare walls of the stage to making the seating arrangements, they were of immense help.
We kicked off the event with the 16 students and their parents assembled in the large hall and the dignitaries on stage. The luminaries on stage took to the mike and spoke passionately about the future of the children, our responsibilities towards enriching the Kannada language and more.
It was heartening to watch each of the 16 students walk up to the stage with pride in their eyes as they received their cash prize, a certificate of appreciation and a set of Kannada books. Some of them spoke with gusto about their achievement and the role of their parents and teachers in their success.
Post the event, we had a casual chat with the girls, who spoke candidly about their ambition. Most of their career goals were driven by their desire to bring a positive change in the world. They want to be doctors, nurses, DCs and some want to join the police force.
We were pleasantly surprised to see how aware they were of their surroundings and the societal constructs that imposes a limitation on their achievements. They were bright eyes young girls who sought to shatter the glass ceiling and discredit the naysayers by achieving their dreams. And we are very sure that they will achieve their goals.
At the end of the day, we left Athani with beautiful memories, a sense of achievement and feeling proud of how an audio book of Kannada short stories can help a few girl students add fuel to their dreams.
From aiding 9 girls in 2014 to 16 girls in 2021, we have come a long way. We hope this trend balloons exponentially in the coming years. We thank the writers who generously gave us the rights to their stories, we thank the actors who lent their voice to a noble cause and we thank you! None of this would be possible without your incredible support. Thank you for being part of Keli Katheya.