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Smile Foundation

Smile Foundation is a national level development organisation directly benefitting over 400,000 children and their families every year, through more than 200 live welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment, in over 950 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India.

Children, their families and the community become the target group for Smile Foundation’s activities as child education cannot be done in isolation and nothing else but education for children can bring long lasting change in the society.

Smile Foundation
Smile Foundation

VISION

Work as a catalyst in bringing sustainable change in the lives of underprivileged children, youth and women, with a life-cycle approach of development.

Enable the civil society across the world to engage proactively in the change process through the philosophy of civic driven change.

Adopt highest standards of governance to emerge as a leading knowledge and technology driven, innovative and scalable international development organisation.

MISSION

Empower underprivileged children, youth and women through relevant education, innovative healthcare and market-focused livelihood programmes.

Deploy best possible methodology and technology for achieving ideal SROI (social return on investment), to practice and promote good governance. To link business competitiveness of the corporate with social development initiatives; also to sensitize privileged children, youth and citizens in general to promote Civic Driven Change.

BELIEF

Smile Foundation believes that unless members of the civil society are involved proactively in the process of development, sustainable change will not happen. Believing in this principle of ‘Civic Driven Change’, Smile Foundation sensitises the civil society in order to make them partners in its mission.

CONTENTS

Page 06 | Message from the Executive Trustee

Page 08 | Highlights of the year

Page 10 | Education

Page 24 | Health Care

Page 36 | Livelihood

Page 46 | Women Empowerment

Page 58 | Disaster Response

Page 64 | Child for Child

Page 67 | Empowering Grassroots

Page 71 | Reach & Presence

Page 76 | Supporters












Santanu Mishra - Co Founder & Executive Trustee

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together” – J.C. Penney

Every journey is driven by the people who undertake it, more so the journey of change – right from the people who initiate it with an idea, to the people who work every day to execute it, and finally to all the people whose lives are being impacted by it. These people, thinking acting committed individuals, are the real force behind any successful enterprise and when they work together they can do miracles.

Smile Foundation's journey too has been made possible by the painstaking efforts of many such passionate individuals, who have added immense value to the organisation, working with us for years and continually striving to bring change at the grassroots. Beginning from a handful of volunteers working in a basement, today more than 3500 individuals – doctors, paramedical staff, teachers, trainers, project coordinators, community mobilisers, volunteers, and development professionals are united to make sure that the lives of over 400,000 less privileged children and families are getting better with each passing day.

When it comes to an organisation's growth, identifying the right opportunities is as important as getting the right people. And so is being ready to utilise those opportunities. This is particularly true for a social enterprise in India, as the development sector in the country continues to function in a largely unorganised and trust deficit environment. For Smile Foundation, it was only after a decade of preparation, of building the organisation's bandwidth, of putting proper systems and processes in place that we became equipped to rise up to opportunities, to face the challenges and create a long lasting impact on the ground.

Creating a working model that was both scalable and replicable became a crucial step in the journey as it helped

spread our projects across the length and breadth of the country, to the remotest of villages, and the unreached masses. Today Smile Foundation is operating in more than 950 villages and slums from 25 states of India.

Scalability and sustainability must go hand in hand as only sustained growth can bring real and permanent change. Corporate, schools, grant making institutions, celebrities and media have been active partners in our journey and have helped us strengthen our belief in the philosophy of Civic Driven Change. It is people again, committed, responsible individuals who are at the heart of these organisations and whose beilef, trust and support has brought us so far.

Acting as a catalyst in connecting resources and channelizing them towards social outcomes by fostering constructive partnerships, enhancing community participation, building the capacities of grassroots organisations, sensitising the privileged masses to become change makers, Smile Foundation has been charting its way towards becoming a sustainable Indian social institution.

2016-17 has been a year marked by growth in all aspects, be it quantitative and qualitative scaling up of our projects, the multiplied number of direct beneficiaries whose lives have been positively impacted, a strengthened pool of dedicated human resources, or the many successful partnerships with our stakeholders and supporters.

ImFact'16 will take you through these achievements that Smile Foundation has been able to accomplish on the ground, as also through some of the most inspiring stories of change that have made our journey worthwhile. Hope you will find it an interesting read.

Santanu Mishra
Co-Founder & Executive Trustee

Highlights of the year

Highlight of the year

30 new STeP centres were launched with support from Ericsson Global India in Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Benefitting an additional 3600 youth, these centres will not only train disadvantaged youth in market oriented job skills, but also place them with reputed retail and service sector brands.

Highlight of the year

Smile Foundation was conferred with the 'Innovation Excellence Award in Social Sector' at the Innovation Summit 2015. Presented by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the summit aims to generate powerful insights, practical tools and real-time solutions to real-world challenges.

Highlight of the year

Smile on Wheels mobile healthcare projects were launched in Kalahandi, Odisha and Hyderabad, Telangana. While the former project is taking doorstep health facilities to the remotest and unreached villages, the latter is providing quality healthcare access to the marginalised population living in the city's slums.

Highlight of the year

Smile Foundation was recognized by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India Hyderabad Chapter for rendering valuable services under social responsibility. The award ceremony was part of the ICSI-CSR Walk held to spread awareness on Corporate Social Responsibility and recognize the leaders in the field.

Highlight of the year

Smile Foundation partnered with Microsoft for their Upgrade Your World initiative in India - a worldwide programme to celebrate people and organisations that inspire and empower others. The partnership aims at reaching out to the unreached populace through community welfare projects across the country.

Highlight of the year

Badminton star Saina Nehwal joined hands with Smile Foundation for launch of the third phase of the Casa Herbalife programme for providing free nutritional support to children studying at Mission Education centres across India. This was the third consecutive year of successful implementation of the programme.

Highlight of the year

A two-day National Consultation on the theme 'Action for Sustainable Growth' was held. 24 grassroots NGOs were identified from all over India and invited to attend the consultation with experts from organisations like the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, KPMG and Ericsson convening various sessions.

Highlight of the year

Smile Foundation was conferred with the award for Social Cause and Empowerment at India's Most Ethical Companies Conference. Instituted by the World CSR Congress, the awards recognize organisations that have had a material impact on the way business is conducted in a socially responsible way.

Highlight of the year

The maiden edition of the Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY) was held in New Delhi, with more than 80 films from around the globe screened for 10,000+ audience. SIFFCY celebrates the role of good cinema in engaging young minds positively and inspire them to lead a better life.

Highlight of the year

Over 1000 ran to support the cause of child education with Smile Foundation at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2016 including leading corporate such as LIC, SBI Life Insurance. Co. Ltd., Abbott Healthcare India, Capri Global Capital Ltd, State Bank of India, Prudential UK and Crown Worldwide Group.

Highlight of the year

Smile Foundation launched Change the Game Academy, an international e-learning platform for Community Based Organisations (CBOs), in India. The programme will help CBOs involve the civil society in bringing change at the grassroots level, enabling them to raise support locally and become self-sustainable.

Highlight of the year

The Chennai chapter of Swabhiman was launched with support from Societe Generale. Aimed at empowering women and adolescent girls through awareness generation on reproductive and child health, and direct health camps, the project targets to cover a total of 25000 women, expecting mothers and girls.

Education is not preparation for life
Education is not preparation for life
21346 children directly provided education
Education
Projects & Children provided education

With an increase in the number of centres across the country to 120, the Mission Education programme has been making efforts to bring the hardest-to-reach children, many of whom had never attended a school before, under the fold of education. A total of 21,346 children have been directly provided education across 21 states of India, out of which 50% are girls.

New centres have been introduced in 10 states at Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Kaman in Rajasthan, Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, Bengaluru in Karnataka, Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad in Telangana, Chennai and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Darjeeling, Bankura, Midnapore, Naihati and Kolkata in West Bengal, Khagaria in Bihar, and Durg and Bhilai in Chhattisgarh.

The inclusion of nutrition support within the programme has highly encouraged parents to send their children regularly to school, resulting in 100% attendance at most of the Mission Education centres and a marked decline in the number of drop-outs. For the parents, who have to struggle hard every day to provide two square meals to their children, the provision of nutritious food is incentive enough to send their kids to school.

Focus on the physical and mental well being of the children has also been augmented through periodic medical check-ups and quarterly health camps conducted for the children. Living in remote villages, tribal areas and congested slum clusters amid extremely unhygienic conditions, the children are left vulnerable to a number of diseases and infections, with little or no access to even basic healthcare facilities. These health camps provide the only professional medical aid for many of these children.

Emphasising on quality education, teachers at Mission Education centres have been provided extensive training throughout the year to make classroom sessions more engaging and effective. Specially created books, innovative teaching learning material, scientific equipments and digital learning tools have been distributed among the children to enhance their holistic development.

Scholarship support was provided to exceptionally talented students to complete their higher education in professional courses. Regular counselling of parents and community members has been a year-round activity, thus bringing about a significant growth in awareness amongst thousands of families who once never supported education.

A tale of transforming the tribe

“Their father abandoned them when they were just babies. I have been taking care of them all alone ever since. On days when I cannot get any work, I go to the jungles to collect Sal leaves and make plates from them. My children should not sleep hungry. That's all that matters to me" - Muni Murmu (mother of three children).

As a daily wager, Muni Murmu struggles hard to feed her children. She believes only education can get her family out of poverty. Her children are among the brightest students at Smile Foundation's Mission centre - SERVE in Burdwan District, West Bengal.

Muni's family is part of a remote tribal community residing in the village of Aandharsuli in Burdwan. Cut off from the mainstream world and all its amenities, the tribe here leads a difficult life. Other than farming, weaving and carpentry, making Sal plates is their only source of livelihood. With little access to educational facilities, children here spend their day helping their parents with farm work or doing odd household jobs. Consequences of which eventually lead to another generation making a living by doing work way beneath their potential.

Children of Aandharsuli would earlier traverse

through 4-6 km of dense forest to reach the nearest govt. school. As a result, many would lose their interest in studies and drop out of school within months. But things changed when Mission Education centre - SERVE was set up in the village.

Bringing the first batch of children to the centre proved to be quite a challenge. A dedicated team of community mobilisers and volunteers worked round the clock to identify each and every child of the community. The next step involved sensitising parents about the lifelong impact of education on their children's lives.

The project not only provides education to these children but also addresses their healthcare and nutritional needs, aiming at their holistic development. Special emphasis is laid on outdoor and extra-curricular activities.

Today, the centre has been successful in minimizing the school drop-out rate to 5% and increase the attendance of students by 80%. The collective effort of the teachers, volunteers, mobilisers and of course the community has indeed paved way for a bright and empowered future of the children.

Sushmita From Darjeeling, West Bengal

Sushmita

Darjeeling, West Bengal

Sushmita and her mother in their own ways are trying to lessen each other's pain. With her father living far away in Nepal to make a living, Sushmita seldom gets to see him. Her mother is her sole support at all times. She works as a daily wage earner at the tea gardens and the minimum earnings are only enough to feed their hungry stomachs. But these conditions have not been able to dampen their spirits as Sushmita goes to the Mission Education centre at Darjeeling to learn something new every day and be successful one day to ease all the pains of her mother.

Sushmita From Darjeeling, West Bengal

Sushil

Thane, Maharashtra

“I had always wanted to go to school, it seemed so much fun when the other children would run to the school buses, but I also had to think about what would happen to my family if I did not come to the brick kilns everyday; how would we eat dinner? I wanted to ease the hard days of my parents and God answered my prayers in the form of the Mission Education centre near my parent's workplace. I can now study and make all of their wishes come true.”

Sushil studies at the Mission Education centre in Thane while his parents work at the brick kiln and stand as his support to do better every day.

Sushmita From Darjeeling, West Bengal

Soniya

Gurgaon, Haryana

“I woke up at 5 every day, did the chores at home and went to four houses in the neighbourhood to do their house-work. My father sells vegetables and somebody had to help him to run the house. I was the one. But now I go to school and father is happy that I will learn a lot and put an end to our problems. He encourages me every day to do well and I am lucky to get his support. I love to draw, dance and play. I want to become a teacher and make my father proud.”

Sushmita From Darjeeling, West Bengal

Nishi

Chandigarh

School makes her forget all her worries. She is active in almost everything – sports, studies, winning prizes. Nishi lives in a ramshackle resettlement colony with her family where all the houses are almost crumbling into one another. Her family has to struggle day after day to eat two meals a day. Her father often goes away to find work only to return home disappointed; but nothing has ever let down Nishi's determination to do better in school. Struggles have made her fearless and only made her stronger.

“When you are poor, daughters often seem a burden. But Nishi is our only source of hope and happiness”, shares her father.

Sushil studies at the Mission Education centre in Thane while his parents work at the brick kiln and stand as his support to do better every day.

Nutrition for better education

Malnutrition among children is one of the major problems of our country. To mitigate this problem, Smile Foundation's nutrition programme has been providing, over many years, both direct nutrition interventions and a broad range of “nutrition sensitive” interventions addressing the determinants of malnutrition.

The project has been designed to address the issue of malnutrition and enable behavioural change regarding proper child care and dietary practices within existing family budgets in two phases:

  1. Nutrition Support: Catering to nutritional needs of the underprivileged children, and
  2. Nutrition Awareness: Sensitizing the underprivileged communities towards the issue of malnutrition amongst children, mothers and family members.

Smile Foundation conducted special social mobilisation sessions on child nutrition, adolescent nutrition and nutrition for mothers to raise awareness and seek commitment to the cause from influential members of the community. Through nationwide campaigns, the project created understanding of the overview of the nutrition situation, and the importance of providing optimal nutrition.

Participants in this orientation included government and non-government officers, village leaders and elders, health officials, alternative health care providers, teachers, parents, children and other members of the community. The sessions not only facilitated improved nutrition and health conditions for the community for the present, but also ensured health seeking behaviour for future generations.

Intervention

Parents and children were given knowledge on healthy eating habits, meal planning, infections and unsatisfactory feeding practices by dietary experts. Dietary charts were prepared according to the age groups of children as well as adults and displayed during the campaigns.

Street plays based on importance of nutrition and combating malnutrition were conducted at Mission Education centres across India. The children demonstrated through role plays how unhealthy eating habits can lead to severe problems wherein a balanced diet keeps a person healthy, fit and active.

Poster/Painting/Story Writing/Essay Writing Competitions on healthy eating habits were conducted at all the Mission Education centres,

under the programme. The students were at their creative best with very striking and imaginative posters. The competition involved children in writing and creation of evocative nutrition based canvas of vegetables, fruits etc.

Keeping the hands clean keeps many forms of illnesses away— from the common cold to more serious infections. Demonstrations focusing on importance of hand washing, spread of infectious diseases, how to get rid of the germs, why is it important to wash hands, etc. were given to the children during some such sessions. The Mission Education Centres conducted a hand washing awareness campaign as a step ahead in encouraging hand hygiene among the children.

Impowering Quality Enhancing Education
Education
Highlights 2015-16


TEACHING LEARNING MATERIAL

Specially designed for easy understanding, the Teaching Learning Material kits include various interesting activity-based learning materials, along with conceptual descriptions, to benefit the students in the grades between pre-primary to class V. They accommodate varied learning abilities of the children and enhance their potentials towards various concepts like difficult mathematic problems, along with conceptual descriptions and usage. These child-friendly educational aids also foster self learning among the students and allow them to study according to their individual aptitude and skills. Genuine grassroots level organizations that are doing exemplary work in the area of child education were identified during the year and provided with Teaching Learning Material kits.

TEACHER'S CAPACITY BUILDING

Along with a proper curriculum based syllabus it is also very important that the teachers are capable enough to accommodate the various learning needs of children, most of whom are first generation learners in their families. During the year, Smile Foundation organised special workshops on utilisation of mathematical tool kits for the community based organisations from across India. The objective behind was to improve the quality of the teachers, their capabilities and their teaching approach. The workshop included activity based games and learning methodologies to help develop well defined role structures for teachers and students and to build a stronger relationship between them.

The workshop focused on three major skill areas to be developed in teaching children how to use and apply mathematics: 1. Problem Solving Strategies, 2. Reasoning Mathematically and 3. Communicating with Mathematics.

ADDING VALUES

The introduction and usage of teaching learning materials and enhanced instructional techniques at the Mission

Darjeeling - smilefoundationindia.org Mumbai - smilefoundationindia.org Odisha - smilefoundationindia.org

Education centres, has enabled the teachers to keep a check on the individual capacities of children to grasp and respond to concepts and lessons. This has further helped them in preparing specific child development plans, focusing on the strength and improvement areas of each child.

Engaged Learner

The new TLM kits and innovative teaching methods have succeeded in developing interest and enthusiasm in the children to learn. Challenging subjects like Mathematics have been made not only easier but fun, as children are encouraged to understand concepts in their own way, by building stories and models. Inclusion of group activities and discussion methods has enhanced the bonding of children, and they are now taking initiative in helping each other learn.

Development of conceptual knowledge on the subject

Using engaging, practical and interactive teaching methods and TLM kits is helping children understand difficult concepts with ease. Their academic performance in the subjects has also been progressive, denoting increased interest and understanding. With their basic concepts of the subjects strengthened, the children are now enjoying the classes and participating actively in the classroom activities.

Infrastructure Support
Education
Highlights 2015-16

10,481 children from 48 different locations across 11 states benefitted from Smile Foundation-provided Infrastructure Support. During the year, Smile Foundation identified all education centres where children had to suffer from a poor learning environment because of lack of proper infrastructure. The project facilitated construction and provision of classrooms, furniture, lavatories, drinking water facility and more. The children were also provided uniforms, shoes and notebooks.

Classrooms were constructed at 17 centres in nine states (Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Mumbai, Bihar and West Bengal) benefitting 3120 children

Classroom furniture were provided at 11 centres in nine states (Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Telangana, Tamil Nadu) benefitting 3441 children.

Drinking water facility was provided at eight centres in four states (West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) benefitting 1750 children.

Computer enabled learning was facilitated at seven centres in three states (Uttarakhand, Bihar and Haryana) benefitting 590 children.

Toilets were constructed at five centres in five states (Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh) benefitting 1580 children.

Impact
Impact in 2016
Healthcare

Smile on Wheels, adopting a doorstep delivery approach, provides promotive, preventive and curative services in remote rural areas and urban slums. It has revolutionised the primary healthcare approach in India by reaching out to millions, and addressing problems of mobility, accessibility and availability.

The programme aims to increase access to health services, through demand-based strategies and by providing a package of health services which meet the needs of the impoverished communities. The fully equipped GPS enabled mobile hospital units feature all the necessary equipments, pathological facilities, along with audio visual aids and a team of medical experts.

With the launch of new projects in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Haryana, Smile on Wheels has successfully brought an additional 262 villages and slums under its ambit. The people who live in these underserved areas mainly work as daily wage labourers and have a hard time availing medical services because going to the doctor means losing a day's work. Also the lack of education and awareness means that most of the time people in these areas do not take health problems seriously and in time curable diseases end up taking lives of many.

354,088 people were directly benefitted under the Smile on Wheels mobile hospital in 20 states; of which 127468 were women, 115432 men and 66631 children.

With special emphasis on maternal and child health, antenatal and postnatal care was provided to expecting mothers. Well qualified gynaecologists and paediatricians were engaged from time to time to address their particular needs.

Being a community centric health service delivery model, Smile on Wheels gave priority to strengthening the local populace with awareness and skills to address vital health issues at village and block levels effectively. Village Volunteers Resource Persons were identified and trained and Village Health & Sanitation Committees were formed. More than 100 capacity building workshops were conducted across the country for ASHA and Anganwadi workers. Networks were created with government hospitals and Public Health Care units and referrals were made for specialised treatment.

Healthcare
Highlights 2015-16

Around 37,000 women benefitted from the Maternal Health Programme which is an integral part of Smile on Wheels programme. Aimed at providing primary healthcare in the rural areas and urban slums, the programme uses its various networks with the village health communities to provide assistance during pregnancy and other issues like newborn and child health, newborn care at both public and private facilities. Behavioural change among the people in the community is encouraged through various counselling and sensitisation sessions. Mothers and expecting mothers are counselled at a regular basis on maternal and neonatal danger signs, nutrition for the mother and baby and healthy habits.


3886 children received health care services from the School Health Camps organised all over the country. Monitoring the health of the child during the course of the year, health check up of the children, eye and dental check-up, height and weight monitoring are some of the activities conducted under the programme. The children are also sensitised on issues of personal hygiene and health through lessons on hand washing, benefits of exercising daily, brushing your teeth twice everyday, etc. The motive of these sessions is to help them acquire the capability to create awareness in the community and their families and inculcate good habits at an early age, making them responsible for the future as well.


1031 Information Education and Communication sessions were conducted under the Smile on Wheels programme to create awareness in the community. To sensitise an entire community it is very important to start from the base i.e. the family. Men and women in a family should have equal responsibility of maintaining hygiene and sanitation. Under these sessions, parents are sensitised on how to maintain personal hygiene, keep their surroundings clean, the importance of having a toilet for the family and teaching the children good habits from early childhood. 44,557 men, women and children were sensitised through various mediums like group discussions, street plays, door to door visits etc.

Once a princely state of undivided India, Kalahandi has not seen one drop of rain touch its ground since September last year. This condition has persisted in Kalahandi off and on since the 1890's; making the once lush green paddy fields go dry and arid, resulting in frequent spells of famine and drought over the years.

With their main occupation crippled, people in the remote rural areas of the district engage in menial labour work and can barely manage to feed their families. Lack of awareness has led to extremely poor family planning, afflicting the health of both the children and the mothers. Sanitation habits have also been largely ignored amid struggles of surviving each day. The neglect of these vital issues has given a free reign to fatal health problems.

“I can hardly manage to get up from bed in the morning, but work is important, otherwise all four of my children will have to go hungry,” says a very weak Basant who ventures out of his house daily in search of work for sustenance of his family. He is not the only one who has to go on despite his health

issues. According to a recent report one month alone saw 21 deaths in the villages of Kalahandi of curable diseases such as fever and diarrhoea. There is but little respite for people who are riddled with tragedies on all fronts including severe economic, health, food and water crisis.

The Smile on Wheels mobile hospital programme was launched at Bhawani Patna in Thuamul Rampur block of the Kalahandi district last year. Targeting a population of more than 23,000, the project covers 42 villages in the block.

Qualified nurses and doctors are present at all times, along with provision of diagnostic and pathological units. People have come out in large numbers to seek help for their various health conditions. The availability of a lady doctor at the mobile hospital has made the women more comfortable in discussing their problems and seeking help. Awareness programmes, street plays and health talks on good food habits, mother and child health, the role of men in the upbringing of children are regularly conducted for the better understanding of people.

Healthcare
Highlights 2015-16

64 free health camps were organised for the flood hit people of Chennai. These people were in serious need of health care services after most of them lost their homes and were left stranded in the water which was fast giving rise to many water borne diseases. The aged and the little children were the most affected owing to the fact that immediate health relief was not available. The Smile Foundation's team consisted of a doctor, pharmacist, project coordinator, and volunteers at each site, accompanied by a Smile on Wheels mobile hospital. The series of health camps benefitted more than 14,642 people.


Dedicated to the healthcare needs of casual and daily wage labourers across India, 48 health camps were conducted at Pan India level. Expert doctors, assisted by a dedicated team of lab assistants and volunteers facilitated the camp. The services included routine medical check-ups, lab tests, weight and blood pressure check-ups and distribution of free medicines. The beneficiaries were also counselled on the safety measures they can undertake to avoid inhaling harmful fumes while working and keeping away from preventable skin diseases. This series of Smile Health Camps directly benefitted 4015 people during the year.


21 health camps were organised for migrant construction workers in New Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Consisting of a majority of the workforce in the unorganised labour market these migrant workers seldom avail health services. Lack of ready accessibility and affordability these workers along with their families often neglect their health. The Smile Foundation's team consisted of a doctor, pharmacist, project coordinator, and volunteers from among the workers at each site, accompanied by a Smile on Wheels mobile hospital. The health camps benefitted 2867 people during the year.

Livelihood

With an addition of 61 new centres, STeP spread its reach across 10 states namely Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal in 14 cities including Delhi, Chandigarh, Jhansi, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Angul , Noida, Lucknow, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

In total 5850 youth were trained during the year. These young men and women come from backgrounds where they get negligible attention in terms of education and awareness, owing to adverse economic situations at home. They mostly drop out of school after passing their 10th or 12th standard and lack the skills required for any white collared job. The programme identifies school such youth from socially marginalised and economically disadvantaged communities and provides them the requisite skills training spanning a period of six months.

The curriculum maintained its standard of excellence. Revised study material has been introduced to keep the training programmes topical. New curriculum has been developed for Retail and Basic Management as well as Personality Development and Soft Skills in collaboration with industry experts.

Exposure visits took the students outside the confines of the classroom into the real world where they would soon be working. Employer engagement programme brought professionals from the industry into the classroom who shared their experiences. 118 employer engagement sessions & 82 industry exposure visits were held during the year.

STeP programme's central placement cell coordinated with potential employers in the retail and service sectors and was able to achieve around 70% placement, securing employment for more than 3500 youth. STeP has tied up with over 150 reputed brands like Airtel, Eureka Forbes, Burger King, Reliance Market, HDFC Bank, Aegis, Wave Cinemas, D-Mart, Westside and Vodafone to provide employment to the trainees.

STeP was benefitted significantly by volunteers from Universities and colleges, who conducted special sessions for the trainees on retail management and communication skills; workshops on confidence building; role plays and activities as part of personality development.

Located near one of the biggest garbage dumps in Delhi, Azadpur cannot boast of a great locality and socio-economic conditions. Living in slums where houses are crumbling into one another, people can barely afford to eat two full meals a day. Daily wage earning as labourers, painters, and rag pickers is the prime occupation of people living there. In such conditions there is a very tiny chance that children get to go to school and get educated with the aim to avail white collar jobs.

Girls are not allowed to venture outside homes and married off at an early age, often carrying the burden of their unrealised dreams forever. There is a serious lack of access to and interest in higher education of the children.

To address this acute shortage of educational and employment opportunities, to motivate and sensitise the youth about their potential and the vast opportunities that are left to be utilised, Smile Foundation's Janhit Society for Social Welfare STeP centre was initiated in the community.

Students who have completed their 10th or 12th standard education or students who have dropped-out after getting basic formal education are inducted and given training in employability skills along with rigorous one on one counselling sessions to boost their self-confidence. “From the day I have joined I knew everything from now on

is going to fall into place, I study hard here and the teachers support us immensely. I have also asked my friends to come and join as this programme has been hugely beneficial for me, for all of us who study here”, says a student of the centre.

The students are trained in basic management and retail skills; classes are conducted to enhance their spoken English skills, personality development trainings are conducted to bring about a change in the attitude of the students. The main target is to train more girls and empower them to a level wherein they can be financially independent and support their families. This type of empowerment has multiple benefits reducing the cases of child marriage and maternal and child mortality rising out of early pregnancies.

Industrial visits, interactions with experts from different professional backgrounds and placement and post placement assistance are provided to the students which help them choose their own careers and work towards a better future. The scenario is changing gradually. Parents are now willing to send their daughters to the centre and are becoming more aware of the importance of skill based training. And the youth are leading the change and making the best of their efforts to enrol their peers and others from the community to join the initiative.

LIVELIHOOD

Change That Inspires Us


Khushboo

Khushboo

“I was born after 8 years of my parent's marriage and hence I was treated especially always. My parents are not very well off but they have always tried their best to give me everything. They have pampered me in every way possible and I want to do something special for them always and hence I got enrolled in the STeP centre near my home and after 6 months of training got a job at one of the Big Bazaar outlets. My parents are very proud of me and I am happy that I am able to support them financially and fulfil their dreams.”

Rishabh

Rishabh

From his childhood itself Rishabh has struggled hard at almost everything. Belonging to a poor family but full of determination Rishabh completed his graduation in the year 2009 from Allahabad University but due to lack of skills required for a job he remained unemployed. His family struggled to earn two square meals a day from a small grocery shop which his father owns. But coming to know about STeP changed his life. Enrolling in the nearest centre Rishabh honed his computer skills and in no time acquired a job as a computer lab in-charge and operator with a coaching institute. His job has brought his family more hope and joy than ever.

RUTUJA

RUTUJA

Born into a family which has forever been struggling with financial problems, Rutuja's family has always struggled to make both ends meet. Even though theirs is a small family, her father who is a daily wage earner has not been able to earn enough. Rutuja was also made to drop out of school after completing her SSC. It was only when she came to know about the STeP programme that she got some relief. After her training in the centre she immediately got placed with J Marks Supermarket. With new boosted confidence Rutuja joined from the very next day and is now helping her father in supporting the family.

TAUQEER

TAUQEER

To take his mother to Hajj and gift her a house of her own is not a distant dream now for Tauqeer Alam who recently got employed at the Burger King and is now earning to support his family. Born into a family of nine, which included his three brothers and three sisters, Tauqeer did not always get the best of things because the sole support of the family his father passed away when he was just 12. But his determined mother did not let Tauqeer earn and made him study, the result of which is a strong and confident Tauqeer who can dream big and work his way out from his present conditions.

Livelihood

Curriculum

In a fast paced industrial economy as today's, it is important to be skilled to deal with the intricacies of a working system. STeP equips its young trainees to explore various opportunities in the job market by providing them adequate market-oriented training. Putting a highly research-based approach into practice, a new curriculum on Retail and Basic Management as well as Personality Development and Soft Skills was developed during the year. Keeping all the current market needs in mind upgraded computer operating systems have also been provided to the students at the centres.


Personality Development

The aspect of Personality Development has been made an integral part of STeP to curtail the hindrances that stand in the way of expression of individual personality, through a process of training. The inclusion of the subject has helped trainers in inculcating positive qualities like punctuality, flexible attitude, willingness to learn, friendly nature, eagerness to help others, etc among the identified students. The youth are trained to socialise and be responsible for their actions and develop a positive mentality towards their duties which is very important to sustain in a professional world.


Industry Exposure

Industry Exposure gives the students firsthand knowledge of their future prospects in the job industry and aims at making them market ready. It provides the students a direct chance to learn from the experience of others who are already a part of the industry. STeP trainees are taken for exposure visits regularly to reputed corporate houses, retail outlets and private organisations. During such visits, the students are imparted knowledge on management skills, on-job experiences, and measures that they must take to upgrade their skill levels. Many a times the employers also visit the centres to interact with the students.


Volunteer Engagement

This aspect of the programme includes the engagement of youth from reputed colleges and universities with the students of the STeP centres all over the country. Being in the same age bracket band brings about a more interactive environment in the classrooms. The challenges of the students can be better understood and resolved during such sessions.

These volunteers help enhance the communication, vocal and interpersonal skills of the students. The volunteers also consider this a two way learning process, which also augments their own knowledge and skills. Innovative techniques, games and puzzles are being used by these volunteers to increase student participation at the STeP centres.

Career Counselling

Every student in the STeP centres is equipped with their own set of personal strengths and skills. The main aim of including the aspect of career counselling is to help students choose a field that is in tune with their skills and their job expectations and offer the right career guidance to the students.

Career counselling has proved beneficial in terms of providing new directions to the students and boosting the confidence of the students. Students can now discuss in details about the new job trends, the variety of choices and make a more informed choice.

Centralised Placement Cell

STeP has tie-ups with more than 200 renowned brands that offer employment to the students. Smile Foundation operates a Centralised Placement Cell that works with potential employers from different sectors to understand their needs and create opportunities for students, both through campus and off-campus placements. The Cell also organises workshops on a range of topics covering professional development, communication skills, interview process and career guidance.

Post the training period, the Centralised Placement Cell takes up the responsibility of identifying relevant job opportunities for the graduating youth. STeP also conducts post placement follow-ups to ensure that a healthy employee-employer relation is maintained.

SWABHIMAN

With a two-fold increase in the number of beneficiaries from 36,450 in 2014-2015 to 68,030 in 2015-16 the Swabhiman programme has been able to spread its wings further, reaching out to and benefitting the women from the underserved strata of society.

Of the many new changes brought within the programme, there has also been the initiation of a new project in Chennai. Under this project, Smile Foundation will strengthen adolescent girls on gender issues through Life Skills Education; educate young women and male members of the community on issues of reproductive and sexual health through group meetings; and conduct regular health checkups through specialized health camps for all target beneficiaries. The project will reach over 25000 women (with a special focus on pregnant and lactating women) and adolescent girls through its various interventions.

Swabhiman focuses on creating awareness and building capacity for women's political participation and collective action against social injustice and exploitation. Regular awareness sessions and group meetings with adolescent girls and women were conducted on reproductive health, safe motherhood, antenatal and postnatal care, breast feeding, nutrition, legal awareness, career counseling, life skills, self defense, menstrual hygiene, etc. 26801 women benefitted from the initiatives covered under home visits by the Swabhiman team at various locations around the country. In addition

to this 21285 married women, adolescent girls and men benefitted by awareness generation through group meetings and counselling.

4804 women received direct medical aid in the form of health camps. 6718 mothers and expecting mothers received Ante Natal Care and Post Natal Care benefits. 2774 women and girls were provided with sanitary napkins to create awareness for maintaining better hygiene for good health. A special programme focusing on the same was organised for school girls in Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru.

The mainstay of Swabhiman programme's community outreach is through Change Agents, Peer Educators, Community Health Educators and Swabhiman Health Volunteers. More than 100 of these change agents were developed and provided training by some of the best trainers and resource persons from specialized organisations.

The merit based scholarship programme for girls continued to provide support to meritorious girls from disadvantaged families. A total of 92 girls received support in form of reimbursement of tuition fee, uniform and textbooks. They were also provided guidance in academic and personal development. Along with this more than 40 young women were trained in vocational and life skills under Swabhiman's Gruhini project in Mangalore, Karnataka.

In a sharp contrast to the nearby posh localities, residents of the resettlement colony in Shashi Garden, Delhi, struggle to thrive in darkness even during the day as the tightly crammed one room shanties do not allow even the tiniest speck of sunlight to fall on them. Children defecate in the open while their mothers wash clothes and utensils outside, making the place a breeding ground for infections and diseases. Uneducated and unaware, the community was surviving in these inhabitable conditions when the Swabhiman team intervened.

Every Friday when the green and yellow van zooms past the tiny lanes, children run behind it – ecstatic with joy that doctor uncle has arrived to take away at least some of their pains. Since the past year Swabhiman’s mobile hospital has been visiting Shashi Garden to provide free health care services to the people. So far over a thousand mothers and their children have benefitted from the pre-natal and ante-natal care provided by the hospitals, along with 5000 families who have been provided other medical services. After the initiation of the medical services and regular counselling of women, 99 percent of child births have been institutional ones.

A large network of ASHA, Anganwadi workers, local doctors, volunteers and government institutions has also been created through mass awareness programmes and sensitization drives.

Shashi Garden has stood out in getting a considerable number of men actively involved in the process of empowering women. Local tea shops, noodle corners etc were targeted as important points in identifying male volunteers and counselling them on subjects such as AIDS and other STDs, family planning and education of daughters. Gradually the shop owners themselves became Change Agents volunteering to do as much as they could and began to discuss these vital issues concerning the community with other men.

The Swabhiman scholarship for the higher education of girl children has proved to be a morale booster. Parents have now started allowing their daughters to go to school and pursue their dreams. Doing exceptionally well, these girls are now a beacon of hope for their families. Shashi Garden has grown in all aspects, with its women empowered and talking of change. It is indeed a lotus blooming to its full in the mud.

Swabhiman

Change that inspires us


Nirmal

“The only motive that my father initially had was to get me married and he did not want to waste any money on my education. I was not allowed to study beyond the eighth standard. But my mother had other dreams for me and always backed me to study and work harder. She reasoned with father endlessly and it is because of her and the Swabhiman scholarship that I am now able to continue with my studies.

Nirmal is currently studying in the 10th standard through a scholarship provided under Swabhiman programme and is an extremely bright student.

RUKHSAR

Rukhsar has always wanted to fulfil all of her mother Mussarat's dreams. Her mother not for once has asked for her help in any household chores, her sole aim is to see her daughter focus on her studies and come out with flying colours. Her mother always aspired to have a job but forced by circumstances and the lack of education could only dream of Rukhsar getting a job someday. Backed by her mother's hard work and determination Rukhsar has always performed brilliantly in her studies and got a scholarship under the Swabhiman programme. The day does not seem very far when both of their dreams come true.

Parul

“I can teach English to mother now, she is super happy and I am too. Also i am going to take mother for a vacation when I get my first salary. She is very special to me and encouraged me at every stage. I am lucky that i have someone who has supported me to get educated. Everybody should have someone like i have her.”

Parul's mother Manju Devi is proud of her daughter. She has just received a scholarship under the Swabhiman programme which is a result of her hard work and she says, “Being a mother is the most wonderful feeling, especially to a daughter like her!”

Neetu

Due to her husband’s repeated demand for a child, Neetu had conceived four times in two years but was unable to give birth, due to her failing health. Having become very weak and dejected, Neetu had lost all hope when volunteers from Swabhiman came to know of her condition.

They immediately sought medical advice for her and repeatedly counseled her husband, making him realize his responsibility towards her well being. Neetu began paying attention to herself, taking a healthy diet, and in no time started blossoming again, with her husband by her side. She is six months pregnant now and ready to experience a happy motherhood.

Maternal and Child Health

26,310 children and mothers were provided Maternal and Child Healthcare services during the year. During the year, 4804 Swabhiman Health Camps were conducted at various locations that directly benefitted around 15,500 women and children. Maternal and Child Health intervention started in 2005 as a pilot initiative of Swabhiman. Smile Foundation operates Mobile Hospital Units to provide much needed medical services to the underprivileged women, mothers and children who normally might not have the opportunity to receive health care. Through continuous communication activities in households and communities, the programme motivates, educates and prepares expectant mothers for childbirth, highlighting an array of health issues including maternal and neonatal danger signs, maternal and neonatal nutrition and more. Each camp features a team of medical experts, including paediatricians, gynaecologists, paramedics, volunteers and Swabhiman change agents. Diagnosis, counselling, medicines and contraceptives are made available for free during the camps.

Feminine Care & Wellbeing

Swabhiman helps young women and adolescent girls:

  • understand their sexual and reproductive wellbeing
  • become aware about their menstrual hygiene
  • know consequences of unprotected sexual behaviour
  • understand how various methods of temporary and permanent contraception can facilitate making informed choices and help prevent STIs and RTIs

Networking with community leaders

Networking with government institutions to enhance community awareness has been one of the major interventions under Swabhiman programme. Fostering of network with such institutions has qualitatively impacted the outcome of efforts and activities conducted under the programme. The community institutions with which the networking is undertaken are Integrated Child Health Scheme (ICDS), health departments, educational institutions and panchayats.

Networking is also done with 3-level structures of the health administration for smooth implementation of its interventions:-

  1. Primary level—working closely with Auxiliary Nurse Midwives(ANMs) and Accredited Social health Activists (ASHA) workers in the community
  2. Second level—coordination with Primary Health Centres (PHCs)/dispensaries
  3. Third level—contact coordination with medical personnel at specialty hospital/institutions
SWABHIMAN

SCHOLARS

Awarding merit-based scholarships, the Swabhiman programme of Smile Foundation has empowered the lives of 92 girls by giving them the gift of pursuing higher studies. These girls are now pursuing their graduation from reputed colleges and universities across the city, including the University of Delhi.

These girls are all first generation learners. Their parents are mainly engaged as domestic help, drivers, street vendors and daily wagers. The prevailing gender biases clubbed with the trap of child marriages makes it difficult for these girls to even attend schools. It is also the determination and hard work of these girls which has made them overcome all these obstacles. The Swabhiman scholars are also educated on aspects like critical and creative thinking, interpersonal relations, decision making and problem solving, advocacy, conflict management skills, negotiation and refusal, reproductive health, gender-based violence, goal setting, and coping with emotions and stress. Inculcating these qualities in the girls has also made them agents of change in the society, inspiring others and spreading awareness about the importance of education.


Male Involvement

In a society such as ours it is important that a change be brought to the existing ideas of male dominance and superiority along with the empowerment of women. This programme is specially articulated to bring attitudinal and behavioural changes in the community men who act as a male protagonist, models who would set example, and real men who would equally support their partners in all walks of life. Whether in the family or the society a woman is only empowered if her male counterpart allows her space in decision making and in practicing her freedom by will. Under this aspect the men in the family are made aware of the fact that they are equally responsible for family planning, responsible fatherhood, adoption of permanent male sterilization, providing critical care support to spouse during pregnancy and ensuring safe delivery. Various activities, regular counselling etc are conducted to bring in the change.




Change Agents

Sustainable change can be ushered in only by involving the members of the community in its various development activities. The Swabhiman Change Agents are members of the community who are identified and empowered through regular training sessions on relevant issues. These agents further help in educating and spreading awareness among their peers in the community. Organizations like Parivar Sewa Sansthan, Purvabhuyas theatre group, Population Foundation of India and National Institute of Health & Family Welfare helped in providing training to these agents of change and the number since then has increased to benefit more people in the society.

Disaster Response

Chennai, the busiest city in Tamil Nadu was as usual engrossed in its day to day activities when one of the worst disasters to have ever hit an Indian state plunged the entire city into gloomy darkness and chaos overnight. It was the 8th of November 2015 when disaster struck and flood water filled into every nook and corner of Chennai. The annual rains proved to be catastrophic claiming more than 500 lives and leaving several others injured, homeless and sick.

The Chembarambakkam reservoir, one of the city's main water sources, had overflowed due to a constant spell of rains and flood waters reached the city in no time. People were trapped in their own homes, roads got blocked and all modes of communication got disrupted. People's plight did not see an end; over hundreds were forced to take

shelter in marriage halls, theatres, and private warehouses, changing locations from time to time. Many had no access to safe drinking water and food. The shelter tents were overcrowded with hundreds of infants and children wailing in hunger. Reaching anywhere was impossible, least rescuing loved ones; stories of children drowning, of families who had come on road were everywhere.

Prompt in responding to the call of humanity, Smile Foundation's Disaster Response Team was on the ground almost immediately, getting in touch with its local NGO partners on the ground, many of whom had suffered damage too. Need assessment was conducted to understand the most urgent requirements of the affected populace, and consequently Phase I of the highly intensive relief and rehabilitation interventions was initiated.

Intensive Relief Operations



A thorough assessment was done by the Disaster Response team on the ground that identified water contamination as a major issue, which could lead to outbreak of water-borne diseases. Hence, the first priority of the team was to mobilise safe drinking water in large quantity, along with dry and packaged food.

But the challenges on the ground were immense. Uttam Kumar, part of Smile Foundation's Disaster Response Team shares, “We were only a small team and had a task of reaching out to over lakhs of people with food and water. We did not know if we will be able to fulfil the responsibility that had been assigned to us. The incessant rain wasn't helping. Each one of us went to a different location looking for volunteers. I was at Karaima Nagar in Kanchipuram district. I was highly doubtful that I will be able to find volunteers. But then I did not know Chennai. We were 20 people on the first day – on

the fifth day, we were more than 500 in total!”

The zeal and dedication of the Smile team was matched perfectly by the local volunteers as hundreds of them got together and worked day and night to help fellow survivors. Many of them had suffered losses themselves, but it did not deter their determination. The target was to reach as many people as possible, and the team was bent on achieving it, wadding through knee deep water and carrying loads of packaged water and food. Since usage of any kind of transportation was not possible, boats were used to transport relief material to the people who were cut-off from all access to basic necessities. Within just 10 days 100 truck load of material was accumulated and distributed, amounting to approximately 756,000 litres of water and 37,780 kg of food.

Disaster Response
PHASE II

Health Based Rehabilitation Support

The second phase of the rescue operations was providing Health Based Rehabilitation Support which is still ongoing in the most affected regions of Chennai. In a post-flood situation, health becomes a critical issue and an outbreak of epidemics is a fatal possibility. Children, women and elders become especially vulnerable in such situations. Hence, the most pressing need after water and food was providing the survivors with necessary medical attention.

Joining in the efforts, Smile Foundation deployed health camps and mobile hospitals to provide basic health check-ups, medical diagnosis, pathological test facilities, and free of cost medicines to the affected families. More than 10-15 health camps were conducted every day at multiple locations across the city. The situation was so critical that while under normal circumstances a mobile hospital and health camp conduct around 100 OPDs per day; in the aftermath of the floods they were providing health services to more than 800 people every single

day. Even after the flood waters had receded, the repercussions on health could have been long-term. The city's health infrastructure was out of reach for many less-privileged families who live on the fringes of the city and little or have no access to government and private health facilities. Hence the Smile health camps and mobile hospitals continued to provide services in the flood-affected regions for months on end. Along with the health camps, interactive activities and discussions were also held to spread awareness among communities on the after effects of such disasters and how they can keep themselves safe.

More than 100,000 families have been benefitted from the relief and rehabilitation interventions in Chennai so far. An ongoing community rehabilitation project that includes a mobile hospital, educational support and vocational training for women continues to provide hope and relief to inhabitants in the worst hit cut-off villages in and around the city.

Smile Foundation's Disaster Response Programme

India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of disasters. Within the past 10 years, the country has experienced an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. As per the National Disaster Management Authority, more than 58.6 per cent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity; over 40 million hectares (12%) of its land is prone to floods and river erosion; close to 5,700 km, out of the 7,516 km long coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; 68% of its cultivable area is vulnerable to droughts; and its hilly areas are at risk from landslides and avalanches.

Emerging from the need to address disaster management more effectively, Smile Foundation's Disaster Response Programme was initiated in 2005. Focused on children and their families, this programme acts beyond just immediate relief and response to ensure long term rehabilitation for the disaster survivors with a sustainable approach, to helping rebuild their lives by facilitating their education, healthcare and livelihood.


It is a tragic contradiction of the modern Indian society that while children from middle and higher income households are being brought up accustomed to advanced technology and luxurious lifestyles, thousands of children from lower income households are living a life of hardships and struggling to fulfil even basic needs like food and shelter. The gap between the privileged and the underprivileged is widening to an unprecedented extent. Privileged children are living in an isolated space, unaware of the harsh realities of life on the street, taking their privileged status for granted. Underprivileged kids on the other hand are living in a marginalized space, unable to find a place for themselves in the mainstream society.

Children – privileged and underprivileged, are the future of our country and only when they stand together, will our society truly progress. Children have the potential to be the best change agents, be it in their family or the community in which they live. They must be sensitized from the beginning as the values that are instilled in this tender age decide the future of a child, and subsequently of the whole nation. If privileged children take the responsibility of ensuring welfare of the underprivileged children, an equitable society can be envisaged. Smile Foundation's Child for Child programme was initiated in 2006 as an affirmative step in this direction.

Child for Child (CFC) is a national level programme which aims to sensitize privileged children towards the life and aspirations of their less privileged counterparts, and inculcate in them feelings of empathy and conscience, so that they grow up to be responsible individuals and significant change makers.

CFC currently reaches out to nearly 1.2 million children in more than 5000 schools, spread across 417 districts of India. In addition, their parents and teachers are also involved in the process. The programme has today reached out to every part of India with the exception of Lakshadweep.


Child For Child
Highlights 2015-16

More than 2000 value education sessions were conducted in schools across India. Under these sessions, children are sensitized to various causes and value systems, and ushered to realize the importance of growing up as responsible citizens of the country. To engage the young minds, stories and lessons are shared from the lives of inspiring change-makers, pioneers and leaders of India who dedicated their lives to the betterment of society.

The first Smile International Film Festival for Children and Youth (SIFFCY) was organised to bring good cinema from around the world to children and youth in India and help stimulate discussion among them about vital personal, societal, moral and world issues. 80 critically acclaimed award winning films were showcased during the week-long festival to an audience of more than 10,000 school children and many others.

To bridge the gaps and inequalities between privileged and underprivileged children is one of the main objectives of the Child for Child programme. To take a step towards the same Government schools, and small educational initiatives working for marginalized communities, were extended support by privileged schools for construction of new classrooms and computer literacy centres enabling access to quality education in a conducive environment.

EMPOWERING GRASSROOTS

The growth of the non-profit sector in India in the last two decades has been phenomenal. India has possibly the largest number of active non-government, not-for-profit organizations in the world. Official estimates put the number at 3.3 million. From relief services to educational initiatives, from healthcare projects to housing organizations, grassroots NGOs work in numerous spheres which touch the daily lives of marginalized communities across the country. Engaging directly with the people, these NGOs are able to participate in the thought-making process of the communities they work with, and thus have the capacity to bring about long-term change. As such, the sector has had a substantial contribution in the nation building process.

But accelerated development soon reaches a stagnant point if it is not sustainable. Ensuring sustainability of initiatives requires a reorientation of NGOs focusing on their capacity building to attain competitiveness. This is not an easy transition, requiring NGOs to rethink and reform their programme designs, planning, fund mobilisation, fund management, and effective programme delivery. There is also a need to guide these NGOs to be able to identify and adapt with the changing national and global socio-political and economic developments which affect them. To equip and facilitate grassroots NGOs in the country to address these issues and eventually aim at achieving sustainable development at the grassroots and community level, Smile Foundation initiated Empowering Grassroots.

A national capacity building programme, Empowering Grassroots is aimed at handholding, training and enabling community based organisations (CBOs) to maximise their impact on the ground. Under 'Empowering Grassroots' initiative, CBOs are trained on vital issues relevant to the development sector in the country like scalability, sustainability, communication, resource mobilisation and governance by industry experts from reputed Indian and international organisations. Handholding meetings and face to face learning sessions are held round the year to help the CBOs effectively resolve their day to day operational challenges, helping achieve the highest social return on investment (SROI).

Empowering Grassroots is not only an effort to strengthen the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid in India, but also an attempt to bring transparency and accountability in the workings of the development sector at the grassroots level. So far, Smile Foundation has built the capacities of more than 5000 grassroots organisations under the initiative.

EMPOWERING GRASSROOTS
Highlights 2015-16

Over 500 grassroots NGOs were trained during the year through intensive workshops simplifying complex management models, resource mobilisation techniques, effective communication strategies and fund-utilisation mechanisms. These sessions were facilitated by experts from relevant fields from international and Indian development organisations, government bodies and specialised institutions and corporate. A National Consultation on Action for Sustainable Growth was held, which focused on developing an understanding of and fostering a responsibility towards the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.


The portal of Change the Game Academy, an international e-learning platform that aims to strengthen the capacity of community based organisations and grassroots NGOs all over the world, was launched at a go in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Uganda and South-Africa. As recognition of its continued work in capacity building of grassroots organisations, Smile Foundation has been chosen as the nodal partner for this initiative in India. The idea is to help CBOs and NGOs engage the civil society in bringing change at the grassroots level and raise support for community welfare projects locally, in the process making them self-sustainable.


More than 5000 face to face handholding meetings were held in more than 950 villages and slums across 25 states of India where an attempt was made to understand the day to day on ground challenges faced by the grassroots NGOs and resolve them effectively through community interaction and participation. A dedicated team travelled to all locations conducting monitoring visits, in-house trainings, discussions, community stakeholder meetings and mobilisation sessions to enhance the efficiency and output of the community initiatives as well as encourage local support and action.


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