‘Action for Children’- A Novel Concept for India

‘Today’s children will make a world of tomorrow’, is the foundation on which rests the innovative programme, ‘Action For Children’, of Smile Foundation. This new born baby of SMILE aims at sensitizing privileged people of the society to contribute for the development of the underprivileged people in their vicinity. It aims at harnessing the available resources for the maximum benefit of the needy such that the benefits of the economic development trickles own to the grassroots level.

The formal launch of ‘Action for Children’ [AFC] in April 2008 rolled out the vision of the programme

that will be working across countries of the world for the development of the underprivileged sections of the society.

Ms Lyda Res, Senior Programme Officer, Wild Geese and Ms Rachida Boukhriss, Fundraiser, Wild Geese, Netherlands were special invitees at the launch function. Speaking on the occasion Ms. Res shared, “Going by the initial pre-launch developments Wild Geese and other members namely Kids rights and Net 4 Kids of the Dutch consortium are having high hopes from Smile Foundation and are confident about the success of ‘Action for Children’ programme in India.

Thanking the special guests from Netherlands, Mr. Santanu Mishra, Trustee, Smile Foundation commented, “Action for Children is nothing but an extension of Smile Foundation’s working model hence amalgamation of the programme with Smile’s working model should happen spontaneously.”

The programme in its second quarter ending June 2008 helped three grassroots initiatives in Mumbai and Delhi to mobilize funds for child welfare initiative under the inaugural phase. Going a step further, ‘Action for Children’ has matched the funds thus raised to strengthen the projects.

Local actions are done to mobilize resources by ensuring sensitization of masses on a large scale. As a result, many individuals and organizations have been approaching Smile Foundation to extend a helping hand.

A case in point is Ms. Smeetha Bhoumik, an artist from Mumbai dedicating a percentage of proceeds from two-week long exhibition of her paintings to AFC initiatives in Mumbai. Corporate houses like American Express have already come forward to join the initiative.

With many more local actions in pipeline, ‘Action for Children’ seems to be cruising ahead in the right direction.

Taking a STeP for Employing our Needy Youth!

The concerns of underprivileged can be zeroed down not only to illiteracy or insufficient provision of healthcare or sanitation facilities but their cultural adaptability amidst the privileged and employed youth is an equally conscientious phenomenon.

Smile Twin e-Learning Programme [STeP] is one of the futuristic programmes of Smile Foundation that aims at bringing education and employment together. With its aim to train 50,000 students in five years, 1600 students have derived benefit from STeP within one year of its launch. More than 50% of said were placed with corporate in retail and hospitality sector however placement remains a forgoing challenge for our partners and us because of more than one reason.

Smile is all geared up to add 12 centres more to an array of 38 centres spread across 29 cities and 16 states. This shall increase the strength of STeP centres to 50 in 38 cities across 19 states.

The STeP centres were recently visited by Dr. Susheela Umashankar, Professor, University of Arizona, USA along with a team of 20 students and a team of Post Graduates from Kellog School of Management, Northwestern University USA to study the model.

In order to increase quality employment prospects of the students, the courses at STeP centres are customised according to the need of corporate. For instance, currently the grooming and learning is according to the needs of Café Coffee Day. The 3 month course focuses on specialised training in hospitality sector where Café Coffee Day will be the key to take our students.

More than a dozen corporate groups have already recruited students from the programme across India. However, more corporate participation would ensure complete empowerment of the deserving youth.

A Novel Social Commitment from a group of Orissa Women

A group of women from Essel Mining & Industries Ltd, a part of Aditya Birla Group, came together in support of Smile Children.

 The women were part of the local Female Club and became contributors for Mission Education’ programme of Smile Foundation, which provides basic child education and healthcare to underprivileged children across India.

We at Smile are touched by the efforts of this club as how through word of mouth the members have been able to influence a large section of the society for the cause of the underprivileged.