Saturday, February 25, 2006

Team Asha De-freezes Freescale!!

Here is the official press release of Team Asha (in Austin)

AUSTIN, TX. February 19, 2006.

It was a cold and icy morning with sub zero temperatures. Yet,
thousands of people braved the extreme weather to run the Freescale
Marathon and Half Marathon. Amidst the crowd were 12 individuals
running, 'come rain; come shine', to support the education of
underprivileged children in India.

Arvind Rao, Gloria Dholakia, Ganesh Krishnamoorthy, Gaurav Agarwal,
Harpreet Arora, Karthik Kumar, Radhakrishna Gaurishankara, Salil
Akerkar, Sanjeev Ranganathan, Santhosh Padmanabhan, Savitha Sridharan
and Vinod Viswanath are all members of Team Asha. They as part of a
16-strong team trained for over five months to run the Austin
Freescale Marathon in February of 2006. Each of them has pledged to
raise at least $100 for every mile of the marathon.

"Crossing the finish line today was a wonderful moment and what made
it meaningful was that I was not just challenging myself in running
26.2 miles but I was doing so to help empower the underprivileged in
India" said Gaurav, who ran his first marathon on Sunday.

"I believe that education is a fundamental right of every child in the
world. By training for and running the marathon, I am raising money
for projects that support child education in India. It is doubly
satisfying", said Savitha who trained alone for the most challenging
part of the training in the harsh winter of Raleigh, NC.

In keeping with the organization's name -- which means hope – the
volunteers want to help segments of the Indian population that would
otherwise lack opportunities, such as mentally disadvantaged children.
Arvind is running to raise funds to support Srishti Special Academy in
Bangalore. Srishti is a non-profit organization, headed by a team of
trained, qualified and experienced special educators who feel the need
today is to provide quality services and well designed and structured
intervention programs to children with mental retardation, autism or
any other intellectual impairment. "I joined Team Asha for the cause
they are striving towards in India and because I saw many of my
friends do it" said Arvind.

Over a million dollars have been raised through such marathon programs
organized by Asha for Education around the country. The Austin chapter
is organizing this event for the second time. Last year the chapter
raised more than $30,000 that supported eight worthy projects from
five different states in India. "Running with the flu made me remember
that great strength finds you when you try to be the strength for
others", said Sanjeev, a long time volunteer with Asha who ran his
first marathon battling a bad flu and is targeting to raise $20,000
for a resource center in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. The resource center,
an effort of Bharathi Trust, one of Asha's partners, will provide a
place for the local community to experiment low cost techniques of
organic farming, alternatives to the capital intensive farming that is
pushing many farmer families into debt.

Nearly all the runners in this group are running a marathon for the
first time "Committing to the marathon training program for Asha is
one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I believe one
needs a strong motivation to run and raising funds to help educate
hundreds of children in India has been a big motivating factor for
me", said Salil who had not run much before he started training and
finished the Freescale half-marathon on Sunday.

"I am happy to have had this opportunity to contribute for the underprivileged
in India", said Gloria who was also down with flu a few days before the
marathon and ran the marathon despite a stress facture in her foot. A
mother of two adorable boys, she has been juggling family, work and
running, no small feat.

Asha for Education is a zero-overhead group of volunteers from various
walks of life. It is a not-for-profit with a mission to bring about
socio-economic change in India through the education of
underprivileged children. All donations to Asha for Education are tax
deductible and go directly to the projects being supported in India.

For more information:
Contact: Santhosh Padmanabhan, 512-431-5105,

Web site:

Asha for Education-Austin
The University of Texas at Austin,
Student Organization Center, Box 319,
1 University Station A6220,
Austin TX 78712-0181

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