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Abhishek donates Rs.1.1 mn for AIDS
By Viral Bhayani, IANS
Abhishek Bachchan has donated Rs.1.1 million ($25,000) to Ashray, a home for children who may be at risk from HIV/AIDS.
Abhishek spent a lot of time with the kids, dancing and talking with them.
"I have a dream to see these children in a world without stigma and discrimination. Where they can walk hand in hand with other children from diverse backgrounds," Abhishek told IANS.
He will also be running a marathon in January 2005 as the mascot of Ashray.
"It will be technically incorrect to say that I'm their brand ambassador as I have always been part of their family without being given any title," said Abhishek.
He was joined by designers Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and actress Dimple Kapadia who celebrated World AIDS Day by way of a small tea party for the children at Ashray.
The children, dressed in bright happy clothes designed by Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, with the theme of "I'm Walking On Sunshine", marked the day with dance, music and Happy Meals provided by McDonald's.
Interestingly, most kids called Jani "McDonald's uncle"!
"We have seen the strength and spirit of these kids. They encourage us to love and laugh in spite of problems," said Jani.
"How they share their lives with us in an open and honest way, trusting us to look after them and protect them. They have placed their futures in our hands."
"It is our responsibility to protect them and provide them with an environment where they can be loved and nurtured and to give them a world where they can grow in strength, in love and in confidence. Let us make a pledge towards this and fulfil it."
In November, Jani and Khosla established a trust fund to support women and children affected by AIDS. This helped to raise a sum of Rs.4.1 million for Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT) that runs Ashray.
Ashray was founded in 1990 and works in Mumbai with communities that are discriminated against on the basis of occupation, disease and socio-economic conditions.
CCDT's mission is to provide marginalized communities with social relevance. They reach out to 54,650 people through direct and indirect intervention annually. CCDT works with a diverse population, ranging from infants and children to families living in slums and in the red light areas of Mumbai.
India is estimated to have over 5.1 million HIV/AIDS patients, second only to South Africa.