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Thirty young authors of India get a forum to showcase literary talent at the Muskaan Litfest for Child Authors 

The Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr Munjapara Mahendrabhai, unveiling Prabha Khaitan Foundation’s newsletter, `Prabha’ with Ehsaas Women of PKF – Shraddha Murdia, Archana Dalmia, Karuna Goenka, Unnati Singh, Neelima Dalmia Adhar, Apra Kuchhal and Vinti Kathuria.

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], January 17: India’s 30 school-going students from across the country, for the first time, got an opportunity to showcase their literary talent and creativity at the three-day `Muskaan Litfest for Child Authors – under the Muskaan initiative of Kolkata-based non-for-profit trusts, Prabha Khaitan Foundation and Education for All Trust.

Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr Munjapara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai, graced the event on day one and interacted with the young authors. “Muskaan is a brilliant initiative of PKF to give a platform for the young talented writers to showcase their works and inspire future talents,” the minister said. He also gave certificates to the young authors.

Some of the leading social, cultural, corporate and literary organizations of the country came together for the first time to host this unique literature festival held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) premises in Delhi. The young authors got an opportunity and a national forum to tell their stories and share literary ideas over 15 sessions, many workshops, interactions, and performances. Heart-warming poetry recitations by Aviraj Singhvi from Udaipur and Saina Sarin from Gurugram followed.

Ruskin Bond, the most popular, loved, and revered author among the children, in a message, lauded the Prabha Khaitan Foundation for its commendable efforts to promote the habit of reading among children through the Muskaan initiative.

The three-day Litfest (Jan 10-12) was organized in collaboration with IGNCA and in association with India International Centre and Sahitya Akademi as the knowledge partner. Shree Cement supported the event as a part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.

The festival was inaugurated in the presence of Priyank Kanoongo, Chairman National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Also present on occasion were Sachchidanand Joshi, member secretary, the executive and academic head of IGNCA, and K N Shrivastava, Director of IIC. And K Sreenivasarao, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi.

“Literature is the mirror of society. It is important to provide child authors with the right environment and upbringing to promote literature,” Kanoongo said. He asserted that instead of social media, children should take more interest in writing and literature.

The evening was marked by a scintillating cultural programme, ‘Udaan’ conceptualised by Shinjini Kulkarni, Ehsaas Woman of Prabha Khaitan Foundation. Huma Khalil Mirza, Ehsaas Woman of Delhi and Unnati Singh, Ehsaas Woman of Indore, also chipped in and livened up the show. Teams of women achievers who work to create cultural capital and assets are a part of an Ehsaas Woman network in major cities of India under the aegis of the Prabha Khaitan Foundation.

Dancer and choreographer Avirup Sengupta, who works with specially-abled children through Prayas Foundation, presented an enthralling performance. The Foundation had flown in children from Kolkata for the special performance.

The latest issue of the PKF newsletter Prabha, based on the theme of children’s literature, was formally released.

About Prabha Khaitan Foundation: Prabha Khaitan Foundation is a Kolkata-based non-profit trust founded in 1980 by Late Dr Prabha Khaitan – an eminent Indian litterateur, entrepreneur, philanthropist, social activist and feminist. The essence of the Foundation is the soulful amalgamation of the multicultural diversities of India. The philosophy of ‘Unity in Diversity’ has been inspiring Prabha Khaitan Foundation to create boutique initiatives and activities that showcase the priceless literary and cultural assets of India for the past four decades. We believe that it is important to preserve our literary and cultural heritage because that defines our identity.

About Education for All Trust: The Education for All Trust prioritises need above merit, with the belief that any child who wants to continue going to school has the right to do so. The Trust believes that problems plaguing the nation, such as unemployment, crime, corruption and population explosion, have all been created by a lack of basic education. Creating opportunities for children to be educated will help minimise, if not eradicate, such issues.

About Muskaan: In June 2021, EFA initiated a new initiative titled ‘Muskaan’ jointly with Prabha Khaitan Foundation aimed at promoting skill development among children through webinars, courses and workshops. Muskaan seeks to popularise and teach arts, culture, heritage and literature among young children in India by weaving it into the formal and informal education system. This is done by engaging students in diverse activities like cultural programmes, story-telling, theatre, dance, music and performing art which is organised in collaboration with our national and international institutes and associations. Muskaan also supports needy and marginalised students by providing them with tuition/coaching classes; stationeries and study materials; distributing nutritious food and providing basic hygiene amenities.

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