12-yr-old 'pools' Rs 1 lakh for a cause
All of 12, Proteeti Sinha is a swimmer with a difference. Each time the Arya Vidya Mandir (Bandra) student attempts to swim a marathon (5000m, i.e. 200 laps in a standard 25m swimming pool) she has a cause associated to it
At the recently concluded 7th Open Marathon Swim Gala at Khar Gymkhana, she stood second in the U-14 swimming Marathon. Nehal Prasad came first and Ananya Kochar was third in the event.
Apart from her prize money of Rs 3000, she collected Rs 1,00,000 from neighbours and friends to support education of the girl child — her new cause.
Proteeti will now be donating the amount to two NGOs — Aseema and Bharani. Aseema is an NGO that helps educate street children in the Pali Chimbai Municipal School while Bharani is a Kolkata-based NGO which has adopted a village called Mallikpur (on the outskirts of Kolkata) to educate children in that village.
“I love being in water and would cry as a kid if I was asked to come out of the swimming pool. So swimming was the obvious choice of sport for me. Now that I am fairly good, I want to create a new record at the national level. Associating myself to a cause and collecting funds is just something that I like doing,” said the Khar resident, who has won 250 medals in various swimming competitions while representing her school, club and state. She has also won nine U-14 medals at the national level — five gold, three silver and one bronze.
What started off as a school project has now become her aim in life.
“We wanted to set a bigger goal for her and that’s when we thought of associating a cause to her swim meets. She managed to raise Rs 80,000 for ‘Save The Tiger’ project and handed over the entire collection to WWF India, who felicitated her on the World Environment Day in 2011,” said her mother Madhura. She also said that otherwise her daughter is a regular kid who loves chocolates, playing games on the iPad apart from spending hours in the pool.
Proteeti’s coach at Khar Gymkhana Subodh Danke can’t stop praising his ward. “She was five when she started swimming. But what sets her apart from others is the underlying belief to do something for the less fortunate. We need more such parents who inculcate such values to make it a better place to live,” he said.