It was their first performance at a five-star hotel. Yet the underprivileged students of Prayaas, a second shift school run by Modern Academy here, were not short of confidence.
The mesmerising musical performance by the band, in fact, left invitees at the HT Woman Award 2017 enthralled. They played three numbers one after the other, beginning with English song Top of the World and a hymn Teri Hai Zameen in Hindi.
The Crystal Hall at Vivanta by Taj reverberated with thunderous applause and the demand for more. And the kids were quick to acknowledge the request, playing yet another inspirational number: Humko Mann Ki Shakti Dena, Mann Vijay Kare…
The kids --Sudha Kanaujia and Sangeeta Sharma on sitar, Komal Pal on guitar, Jeetendra Sharma on congo, Neeraj Kanaujia on tabla, Govind Gautam on bongo, Vandana on pad, Vineeta Kanaujia and Zainab Khatoon on keyboard, Shivam Vishwakarma on cajon and Ruby Yadav on drums—were in amazing harmony as they belted out numbers one after the other.
Prayaas was opened by Rajiv Tuli, director of Modern Academy, way back in 2009 when Tuli decided to throw open the gates of his institution to educate poor and slum children after the regular school. What began in 2009 with just 50 students, now has grown into a full-fledged school with nearly 500 students studying from pre-nursery to class 8.
“The school provides free uniforms, free books and free education to all the children. Rakesh Mittal, retired IAS, AK Jain, retired DGP, justice (retired) SC Verma, Paramjit Singh, income tax commissioner (Mumbai) are part of this project,” says Pinky Bhatia, coordinator Prayaas.
Asheesh Srivastava, a faculty at Vishwa Bharati in Shantiniketan at Bolpur, says, “It was great to see poor children being given a platform like this. They did it fearlessly and flawlessly.”
Peter Fanthome, principal of St Teresa Day School, showered praise on the children and appreciated the efforts made by Tuli to provide free and quality education to the poor children. He said after HT now many other organisations will give opportunity to these children to perform in other upcoming events in the city and elsewhere.