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“Let Them Touch the Sky” wins Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award 2010

© Smile Foundation
"Let them Touch the Sky or Choone Do Aasman", the winner of this year's Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award

Tokyo, 19 October 2010 – The Smile Foundation and NDTV India have won this year’s Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for producing the short film series “Let Them Touch the Sky (Choone Do Aasman)”.

The short films document the real life stories of children living in the slums of cities in India. The series was a joint initiative of the Smile Foundation and NDTV India to bring to light the aspirations of less privileged children, whose stories and dreams often go unheard or even ignored.

We wanted to create and showcase real life actors who are struggling everyday in search of their lost childhood. As a development organisation we felt the need to sensitize the masses about the dreams and aspirations of such children”, said Mr Santanu Kumar Mishra, CEO & Trustee-Smile Foundation.  “Let Them Touch the Sky was an effort to seek attention of civil society groups, policy makers, corporate and other opinion makers towards ensuring rights of children irrespective of their background, class and caste.”

Let Them Touch the Sky was praised by the jurors for being beautifully told, especially the use of children as the protagonists and narrators. The series was effective in bringing the audience into the lives of the children so that viewers were able to laugh, cry and engage with the children's stories on a more personal level than is the case in many news stories about children in slums. Jurors also noted that the series was innovative and modern in style and that each episode was excellently photographed and edited. The films showed the social environment of the children clearly and the children's telling of their own stories was powerful.

© Smile Foundation
Farukh - 13 year old: He dreams of owning his own house someday. He uses his voice and his wonderful music to beg for money at Sarhej Dargah in Ahmedabad, India.

Congratulations to the production team of the “Let Them Touch the Sky” for giving voice to the dreams of some of the millions of underprivileged children in Asia-Pacific. The message of this thought-provoking journey through India is touching and hard hitting but uplifting and full of hope. “Let Them Touch the Sky” is a great example of how high quality TV programmes can change the lives of most vulnerable people and give wings to their dreams.” ABU Secretary-General, Javad Mottaghi, said.

Now in its tenth year, the CASBAA, ABU, and UNICEF Child Rights Award continues to reflect the high level of commitment from broadcasters in promoting the ‘Rights of the Child’, said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO, CASBAA.  “There is no doubt that high quality programming created by Asian broadcasters and delivered via Asian platforms can play a pivotal role in putting an end to issues such as child exploitation.”
"The Asia Pacific region has seen great economic growth over the last decade, lifting millions out of poverty. Yet there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor, those whose needs are being met and those whose even basic needs remain unfulfilled", said Madeline Eisner, UNICEF Regional Communication Advisor for the East Asia and Pacific region. "The children featured in "Let Them Touch the Sky" represent all those children who have fallen through the cracks of the region economic boom and bring their strengths, hopes, and incredible capacity to a wide audience."

The Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award will be presented on 19 October in Tokyo during the ABU General Assembly. The Award, created by CASBAA, ABU and UNICEF, is given annually to the best television programme produced in the Asia-Pacific region with a focus on child rights.  This year, the Award received dozens of entries from many countries in the region including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

For further information, please contact:

Adela Chen, CASBAA (Hong Kong), + 852 3929 1711,

Anom Sani, ABU (Kuala Lumpur), + 603 2282-3592,
Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF (Bangkok), + 662 356-9407,





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