Bangalore : 10-time World Billiards and Snooker Champion Pankaj Advani celebrated International Day for the Girl Child with Smile Foundation at the Karnataka State Billiards Association. Pankaj Advani has been awarded with the Arjuna Award in 2004, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2006 and the Padma Shri in 2009. With an aim to raise awareness about educating the girl child, the champion also pledged his support towards Smile Foundation’s relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Kashmir valley to help out children who are the worst hit.
In September, when the combined fury of heavy rains and flooding rivers affected more than 2 million people in Jammu and Kashmir, Smile Foundation quickly mobilized emergency aid and reached the state, with special focus on children and their families. Today, even after a month of the disaster, the affected people are facing food shortages and water contamination, along with increased risk of water borne and vector borne diseases. The winter in Kashmir is always harsh due to heavy snowfall and children will be the most vulnerable in such a situation. Hence there will be an urgent need of warm clothes, blankets, medicines and medical help besides stocks of ration.
Smile Foundation is continuing its intensive relief operation that includes relief camps and health camps for the affected villages in Jammu and Kashmir namely Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri in Jammu and Bandipore, Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama, Anantnag in Kashmir region till the end of the month. After that ground work for the rehabilitation programme will commence.
Supporting the cause, 10-time World Billiards and Snooker Champion Pankaj Advani said “Women play a very important role in our society, in our lives. It is my grandmother’s birthday today. I was very close to her and have learnt a lot from her. On this special day, I would like to stand up for the cause of education of girl children. These young girls will be women tomorrow, mothers and unless they are educated, the future generations cannot be empowered. Smile Foundation has been doing really good work for the girl child. They are also reaching out to the girl children in Jammu & Kashmir, who have been affected by the floods. I am supporting their initiative and request all of you to join me.”
Commenting on this occasion Mr. Vikram Singh Verma, COO Smile Foundation, said, “Jammu and Kashmir has never witnessed such a nature’s fury before. Numerous villages have been devastated. Children, being the most vulnerable, have been affected the most – separated from their families, traumatized and in want of food, shelter and warmth. Our efforts in the Kashmir valley are focused on children and their families. I would like to thank Mr. Pankaj Advani for coming forward in support of the girl children affected in the floods on the occasion of International Girl Child Day.”