Submitted by Editor on Sun, 2016-06-12 11:01 Bengaluru: Fifteen-year-old Manjula, an SSLC student in a government school, always dreamt of being an actor; to be more specific, she desired to portray characters with negative shades. But efforts to realise her dreams were hamstrung by the family’s poor financial condition. Her father worked as bus driver and mother worked in the garment sector. With the family barely managing to stay afloat, Manjula had all but given up hope when Akshaya Patra Foundation entered her life. Manjula was chosen by the Foundation’s "Giving every dream a chance", a new initiative where three government school children would be given a chance to fulfil their dreams. As part of the initiative, she got the chance to get trained at the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama. “I wanted to be a TV serial actress and always dreamed of taking on negative roles. I got a chance to play the role of Kamsa in a theatre production. I want to pursue acting as a profession,” said Manjula. It’s not just Manjula; two other government schoolchildren Shekar and Shivu are also getting a chance to fulfil their dreams. Shekar, who is studying at a government high school at Adugodi, can now cook Italian food and is also an expert in preparing chocolates, thanks to the training received at Taj Vivanta. Speaking about his passion towards cooking, Shekar said that he always dabbled in cooking when his “parents would go for construction work”. “I use to try cooking maggie, chapathi and sambar. Gradually, I helped my mother and started to love cooking. With the NGO’s help, I can now cook Italian, French dishes and delicious chocolate,” he said. Another student Shivu, whose father is a daily wage employee and mother pushcart vegetable vendor, has set his sights on becoming an astronaut. “At night, I used to watch the stars and wonder about them. Neil Armstrong is my hero and I want to become like him,” said Shivu, who is getting trained under Preethi Krishnamurthy, senior research fellow in astrophysics. Akshya Patra’s Madhu Pandita Dasa said, “We were into feeding the hungry. Now we thought of fulfilling their dreams. We started this as a pilot project and plan to extend it to another hundred students in the coming year," he said.