National Launch of Action for Children
An Act for Positive Impact
Smile Foundation formally launched ‘Action for Children‘ in India on 1st of April 2008 in New Delhi the presence of representatives of Wild Geese, Ms Lyda Res and Ms Rachida, Mr Yamada Koji, Deputy Resident Representative of (Japan International Cooperation Agency) JICA, and Mr Naimur Rehman, Director, One World South Asia.
‘Action for Children’ launched across India by Smile Foundation is supported by a consortium of three Dutch agencies namely, Wild Geese, Net4Kids and Kids Rights. The consortium is promoted by the Government of The Netherlands.
The objectives are to involve privileged people in helping underprivileged sections of the society, and make local development initiatives sustainable locally by involving corporate and civil society groups.
India has the maximum number of homeless, destitute and working children of the world. Out of 500 billionaires of the world, India is home to 50 billionaires. Do the two statements not sound contradictory? How can a country with so many rich people have a very high percentage of its children living in abject poverty?
If all the ‘fortunate’ Indians come out of their indifference and apathy towards their ‘not so fortunate’ countrymen and decide to bail them out of their difficulties, India could become one of the most prosperous and powerful countries of the world.
‘Action for Children’ [AFC] is an interesting initiative of Smile Foundation which is directed to stimulate ‘fortunate’ Indians to ‘Stand up and Act’ to transform the lives of underprivileged children and contribute to nation building in the process.
“We are impressed by the efforts in preparing the right platform for the launch of the programme in India. We are confident that Indian development sector would support Smile Foundation to make the programme a big success.”
Ms. Lyda Res,
Wilde Ganzen, The Netherlands
“Action for Children is a programme which will sensitize the privileged people in order to help underprivileged people. Hence, we do not need to rely on external resources and funding to sustain NGOs and other development initiatives.”
Mr. Naimur Rahman,
Director, One World South Asia
“In a developing country like India, there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor. Now there is a way in the form of Action for Children to bridge that gap.”
Mr. Yamada Koji,
Deputy Resident Representative, JICA
“Action for Children programme is nothing but an extension of what Smile Foundation has already been doing for the last six years in various forms. However, with the support of the Government of the Netherlands through a consortium [Wild Geese, Net4Kids and Kids Rights], more than 100 NGOs across India will be sustainable locally by Smile Foundation. We can make it a revolution in the sector.”
Mr. Santanu Mishra,
Trustee, Smile Foundation
The programme is based on the premise that development is a people’s issue and not just government concern alone. It aims to sensitize people through advocacy on child related issues and seeks to involve them in mobilization of resources for grassroots initiatives targeted to bring about a qualitative change in the lives of underprivileged children by encouraging the privileged to stand up and ‘Act’ to make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged.
The programme permeates from the context that:
• The situation of children in India leaves much to be desired.
• Fund raising in India needs to be broad-based.
• Public support for the cause of children and its socialization is required to be strengthened.
In line with this emerging scenario, the ‘Action for Children’ programme aims at encouraging various civil society groups like Rotary, Lions clubs, trade, industry and professional associations, schools, colleges, youth clubs/youth wings, corporate employees etc, including Community Organizations, to get involved in child development initiatives.
This will not only involve local people in relevant development initiatives, but also ensure that development activities become locally sustainable and not dependant on external support alone.
A programme like ‘Action for Children’ is the need of hour to bring about a qualitative change in the lives of millions of underprivileged in our country.