Facilitating educational support for less privileged children after Maharashtra floods

The Maharashtra floods of 2005, caused by torrential rainfall, claimed over 5000 lives, as many more lost their homes, their livelihood and families. The entire nation joined hands in prayer and service to help the affected people during the catastrophe which most severely impacted the regions of Mumbai, Raigad, Chiplun, Khed, Ratnagiri, Badlapur and Kalyan.

Smile Foundation joined in the efforts by supporting one of the most vulnerable sections of society during such calamities – the underprivileged children. These children often live on the streets or temporary settlements, surrounded by poverty and diseases and are highly susceptible even in their lives, not to talk of a disaster.

Hundreds of children had lost their families, their shacks, their study materials. For them life had come to a standstill, without any means of moving ahead. Realizing the necessity for these children to continue with their lives with some semblance of order by resuming their studies, Smile Foundation focusing on the Kalyan and Badlapur areas, initiated its relief operations to support their education by providing them educational resources.

Joining hands with Aasara Child Line, a local NGO at Kalyan, Smile Foundation identified disadvantaged children from the community who had lost their books, stationary, uniforms, books and bags in the floods. While sourcing these materials, it was realized that while other organizations had been willing to provide books and bags, none had come forward to provide uniforms to these children, many of whom barely had two sets of clothes. The reason behind this was discovered to be the higher expenses and the operational difficulties (providing uniforms according to individual sizes) involved in the same. Hence, Smile Foundation took up the responsibility for distribution of uniforms among these children.