New Delhi :Smile Foundation, a development organisation working for the welfare of underprivileged children and their families, has initiated the 2nd phase of its Mission Education campaign. Last year, the campaign successfully raised support for continuing the education of 19,000 less privileged children across India. This year, the target has been raised to cover a total of 20,500 children.
Mission Education is Smile Foundation’s flagship programme that has provided education to 200,000 children so far. The campaign is in support of the 20,500 children currently enrolled under the programme. These children are mostly either homeless, orphaned, abandoned, runaways, or belong to extremely poor families. Many of them have lost precious years of their childhood, working as child labour.
At Mission Education centres, they are not only provided education, but also nurtured in a loving and caring environment, conducive for their holistic growth. Qualitative aspects like access to libraries and computer education, training of the teachers to make the learning process effective, exposure visits to educational and recreational spaces, and participation in co-curricular activities are given equal emphasis as the education, nutrition, and healthcare of the children.
Leaving their circumstances behind, these 20,500 children have taken the first step towards empowerment. But education is a continuous process. Statistics suggest that while the Right to Education Act has made primary education compulsory and free, more than 40% of children drop-out after the first few years of schooling. This is highly relevant in the case of low-income group families.
Continuous and quality education is necessary to ensure that the children actually become aware, informed and able. This need is at the core of the Mission Education campaign. Putting children into school is not enough; they must get sustained support to continue their education. Otherwise, there is a high probability that these children will drop out and go back to their old lives.
Mr. Vikram Singh Verma, Chief Operating Officer, Smile Foundation, says, “Smile Foundation believes that education is both, the means as well as the end, to a better life – it not only empowers an individual to earn his/her livelihood, but also increases one's awareness on a range of issues – from healthcare to appropriate social behaviour to understanding one's rights, in the process helping one evolve as a better citizen. Through Mission Education, we try to bring more and more disadvantaged children under the umbrella of education every year, so that they can get out of the vicious cycle of poverty, ignorance and suffering, and hope for a better life.”
The Mission Education campaign aims to reach out to the civil society – youth, individuals, institutions, corporate and media, to come forward and join Mission Education, making the education of these 20,500 children their own mission. We can all come together and contribute to Mission Education in whatever way we can – by making a donation, by spreading the word, by volunteering, or through corporate associations. Smile Foundation believes that every action counts!