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S M I L E Society Moved to Instil Love with Empathy
As responsible citizens of India, we are constantly worried about the underprivileged sections of our society. In the year 1997, Mrs Anaxi Shah, Founder President of SMILE and also an experienced social worker having a track record of 30 years of professional experience had a vision to commit herself to bring about a positive change in the lives of the street children, handicapped children, the downtrodden women, and the lonely senior citizens. With this vision in mind, she set out all by herself to accomplish her mission of providing a helping hand to the least of our brethren under the name of SMILE a Registered Charitable Trust. Initially, SMILE had no fixed place to work. However, while Mrs Shah was working on one of such endeavours, her activities caught the attention of the Nagar Sevak Mr Gunvant Sheth. Mr. Sheth understood the importance and depth of her activities and arranged for a Day Care Centre at Babulnath. From then, SMILE had no turning back and gradually progressed in its efforts to bring back smiles on the faces of these less fortunate ones. Today, SMILE has been into existence for the past five years. SMILE along with its team of dedicated workers runs a series of projects namely UDAAN, UTKARSH, UMANG and UNCHHI UDAAN.
Project Udaan was initiated to provide the street children with a platform for better living. It was observed that most of these children spent their lives begging. They received no family support or guidelines and handled their stress by eating gutkha, drinking or other harmful activities. Starting with a handful of children, today, the day care centre at Babulnath has become a second home for more than 300 street children from areas such as Charni Road, Marine Lines, Babulnath Chowpatty and so on. Udaans main objective is to bring these children from street to school. The day care centre functions from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm on a regular basis. Once complete attendance is ensured rehabilitation process in the form of prayers, yoga, non-formal education, medical aid, nutrition, recreation, art, craft, spiritual education, moral education, general awareness, educational workshops festival celebrations and counseling is imparted to these children. SMILE also ensures admission for these children in Municipal schools. Children attending school receive help with their academics at the centre and the project team constantly encourages and motivates them to progress towards a bright future. Children excelling in a particular field receive expert training. In addition, professional Dance class, Tuition class, Painting class, Computer class training is given to these children to well equip them for future growth. SMILEs children are today capable of participating in various dance and drawing, competitions. They are very enthusiastic and participate in various shows, exhibitions, workshops held by organizations like Concern India Foundation, Rotary Club, YMCA, Rajasthani Mahila Samaj Mandal YUVA, Indus, etc. SMILE has successfully admitted a young boy at Hinduja College and also caters to his additional coaching classes.
Very recently we have started with SMILE sponsorship project for our Udaan children and the children of nearby Municipal and Private schools. The criteria for selection are the keen academic interest and financial instability of the children. More than fifty children are covered under this project.
In the month of June 2003, we have started with the Montessori School for the slum children of Walkeshwar area. We have enrolled twenty children at the moment.
One of the common and most widespread problems prevalent in India is the pathetic state of women from families living below the poverty line and those belonging to the low income groups. These underprivileged women are not only compelled to work excessively to contribute to their house income but are also deprived normal rights to living. Project Utkarsh seeks to reach out to such needy women from various parts of Mumbai. These women meet every week to attend several programs run by Utkarsh. Financial assistance is provided for the education of their children. Workshops are conducted for these women on confidence building, opportunities for self-employment, personality development, basic human rights to living, health education, vocational training, etc. The women are also provided scope to participate in recreational and social activities and occasional celebrations. Counselling and emotional support is also provided for the women with the aim of making these women feel wanted and accepted. At present the strength of such women is 90 in numbers.
Umang is one of the most ambitious projects of SMILE. Umang is a result of an extensive research conducted by SMILE on a sample size of about one hundred senior citizens to assess their problems. This project is one of its kind in Mumbai (and probably India). Umangs chief objective is to identify and redress the problems of senior citizens at the root level itself, before it may develop into a bigger problem and even affect the health of the concerned person. The aim is to address issues of old age, loneliness and difference of ideas and opinions between the generations. Project Umang is a forum for Senior Citizens where they can gather together in a support group that participates in various educational, informative and entertainment programmes At present the strength of such senior citizens is 60 in numbers.
PROJECT UNCHHI UDAAN
Future Plan -
Very soon we plan to set up a mobile van service for the immobile senior citizens and special children.
Our patrons and benefactors include people from various sectors, few of them are private donors and Corporate Companies like Dena Bank, HDFC, HSBC, Thomas Cook, Lintas, Crossroads, Akruti Nirman Ltd., P.D. Kothari & Co., Lal Sagar Foundation, Yash Diamonds, Ammada Trust, Concern India Foundation, Westside, Hindustan Pencils Pvt. Ltd., Hope Impex Pvt. Ltd., Kalaniketan, Hitech Electronics, Gujarat Reclaim & Rubber Products Ltd., Sadbhavana Trust, Indu Corporation, Audit Gems, K.Vee Creations, Bhansali Trust, and Manikoshi.