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Tiny Feet, Strong Strides: The Tale of Three Budding Sports Champions At NTPC Vindhyachal

Sometimes, all one needs is a gentle nudge at the right moment to stumble upon the greatness they’re destined to achieve. The tales of success are often wreathed around that one string of support, which helps an individual blossom into their optimum capacity. Such is the story of Kusum, Rajini and Mamata Saket, three 16 year olds, who found their life’s calling in Athletics and now consider the sport an adjunct to their identity. It was in 2016 that the three girls, studying in a government school in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh, found out about the Rural Sports Meet being held at NTPC Vindhyachal. Hailing from households of humble means, with their parents earning an honest living as daily-wage labourers, the girls tip-toed around the idea of participating in the sports meet. With unsure steps, the girls made their way to the Ambedkar Stadium in the NTPC Vindhyachal township to attend the meet, which witnessed participation from 24 government schools. Recognising the grit and determination which reflected in their performance, NTPC Vindhyachal selected the three girls, along with 67 other students to attend the Athletics Coaching Camp, and there was no looking back.Taken in by the thrill of Athletics, the girls attended the coaching camp, organised by NTPC Vindhyachal year after year, to work on their skills and polish the finer points of the sport. Practicing under the bravura guidance of expert coaches hailing from National Institute of Sports and Singrauli District Athletics Association for three years, the girls left no stone unturned in their efforts. Unfazed by all hurdles that crossed their paths, the girls persevered, practiced day and night and devoted themselves to the sport. In this endearing journey, NTPC Vindhyachal held their hand at every step of the way. Right from taking care of the nutritional needs of the budding sports champions and providing them with the right sports gear, to facilitating their ease of movement by getting them bicycles, NTPC Vindhyachal functioned as the invisible hand supporting the girls in their pursuit of excellence. The girls, who once hesitated in stepping outside their comfort zones, have now toured across the country to participate in a slew of district, state, regional and national level Athletics competitions. Kusum Saket has a total of 17 Golds, 4 Silvers and 1 Bronze to her credit. She bagged 2 Golds and 1 Silver in the Regional Athletics Competitions organised for the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh by the Vidya Bharti Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Sansthan, affiliated with the School Games Federation of India (SGFI). She also bagged 5 Golds in the state level Athletics competition. In a similar suit, Rajini Saket bagged 1 Gold, 1 Bronze and 1 Silver in the regional level Athletics competition, while securing 4 Golds in the state-level competitions. Mamata Saket secured 1 Gold and 1 Silver to her name in the regional level competition, while bagging 3 Golds and 1 Silver in the state level competition.“There is nothing quite as fulfilling as running as fast as my feet can carry me, with the wind whispering in my ear, and my lungs aching to draw another breath as I test my body’s limits. I love competing in the championships, and to see my parents’ and teachers’ eyes well up with pride is the most gratifying feeling in the world. The word ‘thank you’, doesn’t even begin to cover the gratitude I feel towards NTPC Vindhyachal for introducing me to Athletics, I wish to dedicate my entire life to this sport,” said an enthused Rajini. The girls performed exceedingly well academically by securing first division in their Class X Board exams. They earnestly strive to balance their multitudinous hours of practice on the field with an equal number of hours with their noses buried in their books. Owing to their stellar performance on the field and their outstanding academic record, NTPC Vindhyachal secured admissions for the girls in Saraswati Shishu Mandir School and is sponsoring their education. NTPC Vindhyachal endeavours to be the stoic pillar of support that the girls can rely on for manifesting their dreams of making Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli district a shining spot on the Indian map.
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NTPC Ensuring Water Access to Villages

NTPC Limited’s Mouda Super Thermal Power Station (NTPC Mouda) is not only focused on generating power and lighting up houses, but is also lighting up the lives of those in need. NTPC Mouda, under its Rehabilitation & Resettlement (R&R) Policy has emphasized on the empowerment of the under resourced people residing in the nearby villages who have benefitted in some way or the other by the R&R works of the power plant.“Earlier, we had no access to clean water for drinking and other uses. Many of us had to drink impure water when the rains were too heavy leading the rivers to flood. That’s when NTPC came to our rescue. They have built a water filter plant on the Kanhan River which provides clean and purified water to every household in Mouda. Now, we don’t have to worry about the quality of water anymore. Thanks to NTPC,” says Lokesh Parade, a resident of Mouda, a village with a population of about 35,000.Mrs. Vidya Haridas, a resident of village Rahadi, says, “availability of clean water was a major issue for us. I was always worried about the health of my child and my family. There was always a little or scarce amount of water which was available. To solve this problem, NTPC Mouda installed borewells in our village which has provided us access to water round the clock.” To make good quality water accessible in other surrounding villages, NTPC Mouda has also installed water ATMs in Kumbhari and a total of 11 borewells in Azangaon, Kumbhari, Babdeo and Dhamangaon. Because of these borewells, the villagers don’t run out of water even in the scorching heat of the Vidarbha region summer.Water is the most crucial substance required to sustain human life and that is why NTPC Mouda wants that each and every nearby village gets water 365 days a year. To further aid the cause, NTPC Mouda is installing 1000 Liter UV+RO drinking water treatment plant at Isapur, Azangaon, Rahadi, Korad, Lapka and Navegaon along with a well at Kumbhari.NTPC has not only set its standards on being the best company in the power industry, but has also taken several steps to make the living conditions in the neighboring villages better in every way possible. NTPC Mouda believes in giving back to the community as much as it gets and constantly strives for green energy and a healthy community.
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How NTPC Simhadri Propelled Multiple Lives?

Kambala Masenu, a humble dweller of Jalaripeta village in Visakhapatnam District lost over eighty percent functioning in his lower limbs at an early age, stagnating his life and prospects most literally. Struggling to even secure intermediate education and a stable means of livelihood, he was dejected with his minimal scope of mobility constantly curtailing his competencies. The absence of a vehicle proved to be a deterrent at Atchutapuram Hostel where he was schooled. With a resolve to complete his education, despite being in immense pain, he used his hands to walk for 2 kms everyday and managed to finish intermediate. A greater challenge began once he returned home, every task required him to cross two villages and a distance of over 3 kms, making daily life an exasperating task altogether. Not only physically but this disability was draining him financially adding avoidable cost for him to travel outside. And more often than not, the availability of financial means became the deciding factor to whether he will be able to get to the place required.Despite this disheartening tale of struggle, he now leads a fulfilling life, travelling over 20-30 kms everyday with a stable means of livelihood. NTPC Simhadri CSR, with its determination to not let any disability limit potential actualization, extended to leap this critical gap and empowered Masenu to lead a satisfying and gratifying life. A complex and long-standing crisis was simply solved with provision of a Motorized Battery Operated Tricycle in 2018. Since then, the vehicle has propelled not just his movement but his ambitions as well. He now works in the local administration, travelling to work every day and accomplishing tasks that earlier seemed unachievable. He is now able to economize use of money and energy and amplify use of his capabilities that earlier remained disguised. He no more considers himself disabled and would much rather be seen as greatly enabled. NTPC has taken this resolve to extend large scale support to facilitate the potentials of differently able people by provision of varied aids and assistive devices. Regular distribution in collaboration with ALIMCO is conducted post a holistic assessment camp at NTPC Simhadri. Motorized Tricycles, Hand Propelled Tricycles, Hearing Aids, Kit for MR, Kit for Visually Impaired, Wheel Chairs are among the many aids distributed to the beneficiaries, a long standing NTPC initiative to promote social inclusion and economic independence, empowering and fulfilling lives every day.
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No Child in India shall be Deprived of Education because of Hunger

About The Akshaya Patra FoundationEstablished in 2000, The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the pioneer mid-day meal NGOs in India. It is an implementing partner of the Government of India’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme in collaboration with Central Government and various State Governments. Headquartered in Bengaluru, Akshaya Patra provides freshly cooked, nutritious, and hygienic mid-day meals to children of Government schools and Government-aided schools across the country. Vision: No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.Mission: To feed 5 million children by 2025.Since inception, the Foundation has strategically expanded its reach. From feeding just 1,500 children in the year 2000 at five Government schools in Bengaluru to currently feeding 18,02,157 children in 16,824 Government schools and Government-aided schools across 53 locations of 12 States and 2 Union Territories of India, Akshaya Patra has steadily progressed over the years. The importance of mid-day meal can be gauged by its conformance to two of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals:United Nations Millennium Development Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; andUnited Nations Millennium Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all.Akshaya Patra’s Programmes Akshaya Patra focusses its efforts to nourish children by implementing the below-mentioned programmes:Mid-Day Meal Programme – Akshaya Patra supports education of children belonging to challenging socio-economic backgrounds by providing them with the much-needed nutrient-rich school meals. On each school day, Akshaya Patra feeds 18,02,517 children covering 16,856 schools in 53 locations of 12 States and 2 Union Territories. Anganwadi Programme - Nutrition plays a significant role during the formative years of children especially during the first six years of life. Hence, Akshaya Patra provides wholesome food at 4,786 Anganwadi centres across 10 locations of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana to nourish 1,31,870 children aged between 3 and 6 years, and 3,660 pregnant women and lactating mothers.Meal Plate Distribution Programme – To ensure hygienic consumption of school meals, Akshaya Patra provides stainless steel meals plates to its beneficiaries. So far, 1,09,680 plates have been distributed and 16,92,837 plates are still required.Breakfast Meal programme – Breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day, especially for children. It is necessary for them to get adequate nutrition to have an energetic day. Thus, to begin with, Akshaya Patra in collaboration with generous donor partners have initiated a Breakfast Programme to serve warm, nutritious, and delicious breakfast in Hosur and Chennai in Tamil Nadu, and Hyderabad in Telangana. We aspire to create a sustainable programme to ensure more children are nourished in the near future. Awards and recognitionsAkshaya Patra has been appreciated for its service both at national and international platform. The Foundation has been covered by several leading media houses, including Forbes, CNN, BBC, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel.Below are some of the significant recognitions:Akshaya Patra was selected by Harvard Business School for a case study as part of their study curriculum. The Global Journal of Geneva in their 2013 edition ranked Akshaya Patra as 23rd among top 100 NGOs in the world. National Award for Child Welfare 2016.Nikkei Asia Prize 2016 for Economic and Business Innovation category.Gandhi Peace Prize 2016. 7-time winner of ICAI Gold Shield Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting (Financial Years: 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010,11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2016-17, and 2017-18).1st NGO to be inducted to ICAI Hall of Fame.BBC World Service Global Food Champion Award 2019.Outlook Poshan Special Jury Award 2019.Mahatma Award for Social Good 2019.Support healthy and nutrient-rich meals for school children and Anganwadi beneficiaries. Your support will go a long way in creating healthy and resourceful citizens for India.To support, click here:https://www.akshayapatra.org/onlinedonations
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Being an Empathetic & Supportive Adult Can Prevent Teenage Suicides

Pradeep (name changed) is a cheerful, lanky seventeen-year-old student aspiring to join the police force in the future. He lives in Bangalore and hails from a family of humble means whose sole expectation of him is to pass his secondary school examinations. Sitting for his tenth board exams last year, he failed in Mathematics and Hindi. Pradeep knowingly shared, “I was so weak in academics that I was expecting to fail in at least four subjects. There is an older boy, part of a gang in my society who bet that I would fail in all six subjects. Failing in only two subjects meant that I surpassed everyone’s expectations and passed in the rest!” Fortunately for him, his parents cajoled him to try and pass his supplementary exams. His elder brother who is currently in college, having been through the same ordeal, insisted that he try and pass the exams, instead of dropping out.Two weeks later, he sat for his first supplementary exams and still didn’t clear them. Pradeep felt bad initially but instead of losing hope, he wondered how he could do something productive in the one year that it would take him to sit for the second supplementary exam. This is how he ended up at the Career Connect Centre (CCC) run by Dream a Dream last year.“Failing in my tenth-board exams brought me to the Career Connect Centre.” Unfortunately, not everyone gets a second chance like Pradeep. According to NCRB (National Crime Bureau Records) report in 2015, a student commits suicide every hour in India, unable to fulfil aspirations, cope with failure, or find emotional support.Source: WHO, https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/In the month of April 2019 alone, we saw the rise of students taking their own life, because of failing state examinations, which would determine their future. The World Health Organisation says that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29- year-olds, globally. As per the Indian government statistics, there has been an increase in the number of student suicides, from 8068 students in 2014 to 9474 students in 2016, the last year for which this data is available. Out of the 9474 students in 2016, 2413 of them committed suicide after failing in examinations.This is becoming an endemic crisis. Increasing pressures on students from parents, teachers and peer groups to perform well in standard examinations, increasing expectations from colleges who are consistently upping the cut-offs for admissions and employers who only want to hire the best of the lot are symptomatic reasons for students taking such drastic steps with their life when they fail in academics. However, as we scratch the surface we see a deeper systemic challenge. Students don’t have the critical life skills and social and emotional competencies to deal with failure. Moreover, parents and educators don’t exhibit the skills needed to support children and students who are struggling with anxiety and stresses of not performing well in examinations. Educators are worried about their students not performing well and end up coaching them by taking extra classes for months before the exams. In turn, they fail to address what life could be like, in the eventuality of them not passing examinations. With parents and family members setting high expectations for students, failing them leads to students unable to live with the shame and guilt.When Pradeep failed his 10th grade examinations, his friends told him about the Career Connect Centre (CCC). The CCC is home to young people between the ages of 14 and 23, who are either shunned by systems and families, having failed examinations or are lost and clueless about their future or are looking for a supportive peers to hang out with. Through various skill development programmes, the centre helps young people develop skills needed for the job market but more importantly help build their identities, own their stories and make meaningful and purposeful transition to adulthood. For Pradeep, this was a whole new world.While Pradeep had made peace with the fact that he had failed two subjects, the guilt and shame of failure stayed deeply entrenched within him. Friends and those very close to him hurt him deeply, by their words and actions, by referring to him as a failure. His mother called him a failure when she was irritated and then tried to smooth it over and make up for it, by lovingly asking him to have some food.The facilitators shared, “Pradeep was struggling with his own identity, and how his friends and family recognise him as someone who has failed. On the outside, he put up a brave front and didn’t show that this is affecting him, but during vulnerable moments he shared how their taunts made him feel low.”“Young people like Pradeep have multiple ups and downs in their life which can be overwhelming and not having supportive adults could push them to sometimes take drastic steps.” says another facilitator at the Career Connect Centre.In our work with young people like Pradeep, we have learnt that they are seeking emotionally safe spaces where they can be themselves; they are seeking authentic adult relationships based on trust, empathy, love, care and non-judgmental attitudes and they are seeking acceptance and validation. Hence, while we offer various skill development programmes as a hook for young people to come into the centre, the approach uses empathy-based pedagogies to build healthy, trust-worthy and safe relationships between facilitators and young people.Pradeep found it refreshing to come into a space where his feelings were heard and found acceptance from the facilitators. He was not treated like a failure. It was a whole new experience for him and he embraced it wholeheartedly. The facilitators say, “When we open the doors at nine, every morning, Pradeep is waiting, and he is at the Centre till we shut the doors, at the end of the day.”Before coming to the Centre, he didn’t have an adult who had the time to listen to him and encourage him to invest in himself and his dreams. While his father was busy trying to make ends meet and his mother was ensuring that Pradeep was fed and clothed, there was nobody giving him space to express what he was feeling. At the Centre, he was met with not one but many caring facilitators who validated what he was going through and held space for him as he overcame his feelings of dejection and transformed them into something optimistic.Soon, Pradeep learnt to accept his failure, overcome his feelings of shame and guilt and learnt to Thrive.Research shows that children who do well in adverse situations, such as failure in examinations, have a biological resistance to adversity when they have strong and healthy relationships with the important adults in their family and community. These relationships buffer young people from developmental disruption. When Pradeep experienced failure in examinations, it is manageable stress, which can be growth-promoting, when helped by supportive adults. Supportive adults can support development of key capacities like the ability to plan, monitor and regulate behaviour and become adaptive to changing circumstances. By refraining from teasing, labelling and mocking them for performing poorly in academics and instead by creating a safe space for them to share their feelings, we are creating strong support systems for young people. Making them focus on areas they might be skilled at could lead to them feeling better about themselves. Over time, they become better able to cope with life’s obstacles and hardships, physically and mentally (Centre on the Developing Child, 2015).It has been a year since Pradeep started going to the Centre and he recently gave his second attempt to clear his two pending subjects but cleared only Mathematics. Pradeep walked in to the Centre, with a wide smile on his face, laughing and overjoyed that he cleared that one exam! The staff at CCC were worried that he still had this one exam left to clear and he immediately told them to look at the bright side as it’s just one exam that he needs to clear now!Pradeep today looks as passing exams as just one more milestone in the expansive life he has ahead of him. While, waiting to clear his last exam, Pradeep has discovered who he is and is confidently moving forward in life.Note - It was originally posted here - https://medium.com/@vishaltalreja/being-an-empathetic-supportive-adult-can-prevent-teenage-suicides-4d876d7b4c92
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Of Warping Time and Leading with Hope...

    It was Einstein that said “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once” but, given the pace of the past few months, there were definitely times where we were trying to warp and curve the time-space continuum to get everything done! There are three things that I’d like to share with you. First, we’re investing in teachers and building their capacities to improve classroom practice and learning. Our teacher training vertical is taking on the role of a Teacher Development Centre. This will encompass training, coaching and classroom observation. Most of us agree that teacher training is not sufficient in improving learning outcomes --- training has to ‘stick’. We think this will happen if training is supported by real-time coaching, teacher support and an immersive programme of building a cohort of trainers that are aware of innovative teaching practices in the government system. As with our other work, we will lead with proof points to demonstrate the model, gain evidence of impact and then scale the effort by integrating the programme into government systems.Second, we’re deepening our work in Madhya Pradesh. We kicked off our deeper engagement in MP with three ‘design thinking’ workshops that helped us involve voices from the ground (Principals, teachers, DIET lecturers and principals, BACs, CACs, DPC, APC), to co-create the programme that we will roll out (20 individuals in each cohort). We didn’t want to sit behind a desk and design the programme ourselves and there’s no better insight than the perspectives of those that are doing the hard work of running schools and teaching children on a daily basis. Third, our codification and knowledge management effort has begun under the direction of Urmila (our Director, Education). We think codification is critical to helping us scale our work and are investing in standardising our teaching practices, our school processes, our teacher training rubrics and modules, etc. As we get deeper into this effort, we will be exploring the use of a technology platform to make this easy to access and disseminate.So, as we enter 2020, I am incredibly hopeful that we’re building a special organisation here. One that is going to work towards delivering high-quality education in government schools and bringing hope and positivity and inspiration to the work we do, every day.With love, hope and the belief that we will build a better world,KrutiCEO,Peepul PS We’d love for you to support our work as we grow. One way is to donate through our new donations page: https://peepulindia.org/donate/ - We received our FCRA recently (yay!) so individuals based outside India can also contribute and donate to our programmes. If you’re based outside India, please email me and I’ll give you the details on how you can fund our work.
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Muktangan: Quality Education for Life

The Muktangan initiative began in 2003 in a small classroom of an existing MCGM school building. Its objective; to provide a quality English - medium school education program to local, under-served communities in and around Mumbai’s G - South Ward. While, at the time English Medium schools were available, they seemed inaccessible to the children from these working-class communities due to high fees. Parents also found the education provided by these schools to be theoretical in nature and to lack any ability to prepare their children for practical life or a globalized job market. Muktangan’s Founder Elizabeth Mehta, being a veteran educationist, was well aware of these prevalent gaps in mainstream education and empathized with the communities need for a more holistic education. Believing in the potential that lay within the communities themselves, the initiative drew on members, mostly women, with few opportunities for economic independence and a passion to see the children of their communities succeed; and empowered them to become educators capable of delivering a free, learner-friendly, developmentally supportive schooling program. 16 years later, Muktangan’s seven schools and integrated teacher education center act as labs for action research and innovation in classroom strategy, facilitating the development of well-rounded learning experiences for students and teachers alike. The education model, based on active-constructivism, engages learners and encourages them to…Participate in classroom discussionsExplore concepts introduced, contextualize them to everyday life And understand how to practically implement what they learnThe model’s interdisciplinary approach supported by a seamless integration of curricular (Academic) and co-curricular (non-academic) content allows learners to unlock their true individual potential, empowering them to be adaptive, empathetic, thinking and contributing members of a 21st century global society. Through our schools alone, we annually deliver quality education to 3700 plus children and have, so far, developed more than 800 educators (teachers, faculty and school leaders). Muktangan’s model and methods are now being studied for further scale to the mainstream. Some of the teaching - learning processes from our early years’ and elementary education programs have already been implemented in Balwadis/Anganwadis and Zilla Parishad (ZP) schools in other rural and urban areas of Maharashtra benefiting 1000s of on-field educators and students. We are also in the process of building user-friendly Education Tools allowing educators and parents alike to adapt Muktangan’s methods, independently to various learning contexts. To know more about us visit our website and/or follow us @ngomuktangan on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. 
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HOW YOGA TRAINING ENABLED A LITTLE GIRL TO STAND ON HER FEET?

YogSeYogya..HOW YOGA TRAINING ENABLED A LITTLE GIRL TO STAND ON HER FEET?Who knew that just yoga training could empower a little girl to aspire and achieve what she had never dreamt of? A government school student, daughter to a BPL family with father as a daily wage worker goes on to become a champion, exemplifying the unrealistic paradigm of hope for hundreds like her. Such is the story of K. Srujana Pujitha studying in Government Residential School in the small village of Thanam, located in Andhra Pradesh.A narrative of hope and aspiration, the acceleration to her untouched talent has been the protagonist of this success story. An academically average student, with reasonable health but minimal expectations, made her maiden encounter with yoga in 2016. Despite Pujitha’s interest in the form, for a long time she couldn’t find an avenue to exercise it. Studying in a residency school, her inadequate outdoor exposure couldn’t translate her interest into aspiration.A certified yoga trainer engaged by NTPC Simhadri changed the narrative for her uninspired tale. She began training regularly and diligently. With discipline in action and precision in training, her energy and aptitude were accurately channelized in the direction for excellence. She began learning at the age of 10 and in 3 years now stands at the brink of a national feat that will secure her future. Provision of aids and financial assistance further gave the liberty to experience uninterrupted guidance and development that otherwise stood as hurdles. Having developed much affinity for the practice, yoga soon became an indivisible element of her life. Internalizing the art, her academic and health quotients saw a positive leap. With increasing appetites, stamina and greater concentration, she was elated to express how she is now a top ranker in her class. From securing the silver medal in Nellore State Level Competition in 2018, to a gold in Karnool State Level in 2019 and bronze in Visakhapatnam District Level, she became the first girl in her district to ever be selected for an International Yoga Event conducted in Chandigarh in 2018. With a league of achievements tailing her, she is undergoing relentless training for an imminent national victory, one that will assure her a government job in the future and absolute financial stability for her entire family. And it is her skills, carved with meticulous training guiding her and her family to a long-term secured sustenance.As daily wage workers, her parents identify themselves with her accomplishments and gleam with pride and sentiments witnessing unfamiliar contentment. Despite financial constraints limiting their scope to be live spectators to her shows, they derive immense pleasure in having their daughter travel the country for her competitions and express immense gratitude to NTPC for creating such financial possibility. More so, ambition actualization has led them to involving their younger daughter in the art as well. What she has led is not a solitary tale of unexpected accomplishment but a domino of aspiration and excellence. Such ray of possibility for a girl from that community is a sturdy pillar for many to build their hopes on. With pouncing success, now over 4000 students are under the mentorship of Shri. Ch Anjaneyulu with an overwhelming response. Multiple students have been regularly acing the performances at District and State Level Competitions and participating in national level as well. Clearing the path for countless dreams to be realized, NTPC Simhadri has been sponsoring yoga suits, equipments, mats, travel expenditure and most significantly ensuring uninterrupted commendable training to school students across multiple villages in Parawada Mandal. NTPC CSR support has propelled an undiscovered purpose for thousands of girls who from being regular students have become advocates of art and discipline, and empowered individuals who will have the confidence to pursue what seemed like a distant dream in all spheres of life
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