About Fathers & Sons

Introduction of the book by Anjali and Amar

First and foremost, we would like to thank all the people who have shared some their most treasured moments with us for this book. We appreciate their taking time out of their busy schedules to be part of this book and for their commitment and desire towards making a difference to other people's lives. The proceeds of this book are going to two causes: Books and Balls, a charity founded by my brother and I, and the Cancer Screening and Research Trust founded by our mother, when our grandmother was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer.

Books and Balls is an initiative started by us to bring a little joy and the capacity to learn into the lives of less privileged children. It all began when we were just kids; we would take big colourful plastic balls to children living in the slum areas close to our home on each of our birthdays. They were so overjoyed by this simple gesture that the happiness on their faces were the best gifts we received on our birthdays. The children played with these balls for months on end. Often, these children had nothing more than broken sticks wrapped with cloth around them to play with. Books and Balls developed from this annual custom. We thought, if it’s so easy to make so many kids happy, why not do it for kids all over India who go to municipal schools and have no recreational activities? So we started the venture, and decided we should distribute a ‘sports kit’ that would go to each school. Our aim is to bring a little fun into their lives, because everyone should smile at least once a day if not more. The wonderful thing about a ball is that any number of people can play with it, from one person alone to a whole group. There are also millions of different games that you could play with the same ball including my personal favourite, nagolchu a typical Indian game involving two teams, seven stacked flat stones, and a lot of running.

Most municipal schools in India have inadequate sports equipment; often not even a single cricket bat or ball (cricket is to India what baseball is to America and football is to Europe). It was shocking for us. Therefore we put together a kit which includes four cricket bats, ten rubber cricket balls, two footballs and 500 students between the ages of five to fourteen. To date we have donated to over 500 schools within India and also to schools overseas in Uganda, Kenya, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. We have raised money through our grandparents' funding and from other fundraisers. ‘Amazo’ in Ahmedabad was kind enough to let us host our first fundraising activity at their restaurant.

With your support of this book we hope to raise more and donate to underprivileged school children around the world.

One of our greatest encouragements was when the principal from one of the local municipal schools called and informed us that for the first time in its history, their school was able to participate in the inter-school cricket competition and had actually won the championship – all thanks to our donation of the sports equipment. Who knows, we may have given birth to a future cricket champion or an Olympic gold winner! The objective of the Cancer Screening and Research Trust is to make women aware of precancer screening tests such as mammograms, pap smears, and a CA125 (for ovarian cancer). The Trust has produced two commercials on cancer awareness, which have appeared on the Star Network, Zee TV, INX and Sony and have been aired nationally to a viewer base of more than 300 million. One of the commercials won the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) award for the best commercial for a non-profit organisation. The Trust conducts free mammograms and pap smears in Ahmedabad, our home town, in India. We are really thankful that so many women have now become aware of this issue, because our grandmother could have been saved if only her cancer had been detected earlier. Just one test could save a life. It isn’t that hard to do. We remember when our mother was writing the first book, Mothers & Daughters, her friends scheduled their first mammograms and health check-ups, after hearing her story. It may seem like a small achievement, but it is a big step for this city. We are just so glad that so many women now have the knowledge that enables them to detect cancer early. It is truly rewarding to be a part of this change.

We sincerely do hope this book makes a difference to the people who read it and that it reaches out to a wide audience. The new cause that this book supports aims at making a more enjoyable life for the less fortunate kids who work so hard. A couple of hours to play ball after a long day of studying indoors makes a child incredibly happy, something very few of us who are fortunate recognise. Just a few weeks ago we visited a school to donate sports equipment where we met an eleven-year-old girl named Priyanka who told us that she walked to school every day. We asked her how far away she lived, and her response was, “Oh, very far away…” That one statement touched our hearts deeply. These children have the bare minimum at home, and yet work so hard to make a better life for themselves and to support their families. Their own will-power drives them; no one forces them to go to school. We strongly believe that a child should live a nourished, nurtured and carefree life and often that is what these kids are deprived of. A simple reward for encouragement is all that is required. After all, we all need someone to say “Good job buddy!”

We would like to sincerely thank every child that has encouraged us with their positive energy, smiles and laughter, and given us a level of fulfilment and a drive to work harder. We would like to thank our parents, Sonal and Vimal, for their continuous support and encouragement of all our endeavours and for making us committed to be the change for a better world.

Vimal Ambani
Amar Vimal Ambani


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