The rules don’t allow those under 18 years of age to participate, but the Mumbai Marathon, which will be held on Sunday, has been instrumental in giving several underprivileged and ailing children a better life.
Though the marathon supports 25 to 30 causes, most of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) raising money through it have been associated with child welfare. The trend continues this year with 40 per cent of the 142 registered NGOs focusing on children.
“NGOs working for underprivileged children have registered in large numbers, but we also raise money for other causes, like tribal welfare, old-age homes and civic issues,” said Jayanti Shukla, executive director of the United Way of Mumbai, the marathon’s official charity partner.
NGOs wishing to raise money through the marathon have to register with United Way of India. After a credential check, the NGOs are allowed to appeal to corporations and individuals to contribute. “The money has to be given to us and we pay the consolidated amounts to the NGOs,” said Shukla.
Money is raised through various activities, including a ‘Corporate Challenge’ in which a team pays a minimum of Rs 2.25 lakh to participate. Individuals can also pledge to raise money for a cause.
This year, 102 companies have fielded 160 ‘Corporate Challenge’ teams, while 40 individuals have pledged to raise between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh. Industrialist Anand Mahindra, businessman Ravi Trehan, architect Rahul Kadri and author Shobhaa De have pledged to raise over Rs 10 lakh.
Shukla said no target has been set, but they expect much more than the Rs 7.75 crore raised last year.