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Press Release


‘Aviva Great Wall of Education’ presented by The Times of India culminates in Mumbai

Date: 19-Nov-2011

Mumbai, November 19, 2011: The opening ceremony for the grand finale of the Aviva Great Wall of Education, India’s biggest book donation drive for underprivileged children, was held today at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. The event was inaugurated by Aviva Life Insurance’s brand ambassador and ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Also present on the occasion were Gaurav Rajput, Director Marketing, Aviva India; Nandan Srinath, Director Response, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd., Samaresh Parida, Director Strategy, Vodafone; Rajendra Kalkar, Sr. Centre Director, High Street Phoenix and Himanshu Giri – CEO, Pratham Books. As part of Aviva’s Street to School program, the books from the Wall will be used to educate thousands of underprivileged children supported by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Save the Children India, and SOS Children’s Villages of India. Representatives from the NGOs were also present on the occasion.

The ‘Aviva Great Wall of Education’ is presented by The Times of India and powered by Vodafone. The initiative is supported by High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, as the venue partner, and Pratham Books and Crossword as the book store partner.

Sachin Tendulkar inaugurated the event by placing picture books and story books of his children on the wall. He said, “Education is the key to a child’s future and Aviva Life Insurance’s initiative to bring reading and books closer to more of our underprivileged children is a commendable step”.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gaurav Rajput, Director Marketing, Aviva India said, “At Aviva, we recognize that Education is Insurance for a better future. In line with this thought, the ‘Aviva Great Wall of Education’ aims to improve the lives of thousands of underprivileged children by helping them into education. We started the Aviva Great Wall of Education in 2009 and in the last two years, it has created a movement in all the cities that it has travelled to, collecting over a million books. This year, we expanded its footprint to a national level through our tie-up with the Times of India and Vodafone. We hope that people will support us this year as well by donating books in large numbers”.

"The association of the Times Group and brand Aviva is an ideal match since both abide by philosophies that are reflected in the core belief of the Aviva Great Wall of Education campaign. This campaign is all about helping underprivileged children gain access to education and reflects the vision of the two organizations, committed in making a difference to the society and to mobilize people to come forward and donate books. I am confident that this cause will receive the desired response from the people." said Nanadan Srinath, Director Response, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd.

Samaresh Parida, Director Strategy, Vodafone India said, “At Vodafone we believe that linking core competencies of our business and Corporate responsibility is what sustains CSR initiatives. In line with this philosophy we have partnered with the Aviva Great Wall of Education to donate books through an SMS. At Vodafone, CSR is an integral part of our mission and strategy, shaping how we conduct our business everyday. We have sustained efforts to monitor, measure and improve our impacts on our customers, employees, the environment and the communities that we operate in.”

"Pratham Books is delighted to partner with the 'Aviva Great Wall Of Education' initiative. Our affordable low cost, quality books available in multiple Indian languages including English, enable us to reach children in a language of their choice. We hope that people log onto and avail the online pledge option to reach children who may have otherwise never known the joy of owning a book. The pledges and the donation drives are a small step towards building a Reading India.", said Mr.Himanshu Giri, COO, Pratham Books.

Mr. Rajendra Kalkar, Sr. Centre Director, High Street Phoenix said, “We are delighted to associate with Aviva Great Wall of Education as it will give citizens a chance to make a difference to the lives of the underprivileged children by moving them closer to Education. High Street Phoenix being in the heart of the city makes for an ideal venue to host such an event that will highlight the importance of books and reading in today’s age, impacting lives of over 500,000 underprivileged children across the country”.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Radha Rao (IAS), State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, “We are deeply appreciative of this initiative by Aviva India. At Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, our attempt is to reach out to as many children as possible and help them into better future with education. With the books from the Aviva Great Wall of Education, we will attempt to set up mini libraries in schools.”

“SOS Children Villages of India congratulates Aviva for this unique initiative. This will enable under privileged children to have access to books which otherwise would not have been possible. We deeply relate with such a project and understand its value as we have more than 23000 children under our care across the country. The ‘Gift of knowledge’ is the best we can give to children, which will come back to us in the form of a better next generation. I hope people will come forward and donate generously for this meaningful cause.”  Mr. Rakesh Jinsi, Secretary General, SOS Children Villages.

Irwin Fernandes, Director, Resource Mobilisation, Save the Children, said: “This initiative by Aviva is one more step toward making the Right to Elementary Education a reality for millions of underprivileged children in India. We hope that the public will come forward to support this innovative initiative of Aviva.”

The donation drive that will go on till 21st November has been activated across India through drop boxes placed at Aviva branches and Times of India offices, where people can come forward and donate books. In order to ensure maximum participation, donation boxes have been placed in around 500 schools in 10 cities – Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Pune and Mumbai, through which school children will not only be able to donate their old text books, note books.

People from across the country can donate books by just sending an SMS. Vodafone users have to SMS ‘BOOK’ to 58910 to donate a Rs 10 book pack. (Charges Rs 10). One can also log online to or to donate books.

The Aviva Great Wall of Education, in its third year, is yet another significant step by Aviva, towards building a bright future for the underprivileged children and helping them into education. Over the last two years, the initiative, a part of Aviva’s Street to School program, has made an impact in the lives of over 500,000 underprivileged children across the country. It has also been recognized by the Limca Book of Records 2011 as a ‘huge wall of books in the country’ for its debut year.

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