17.7 million children in India are currently out of school
25 million children are at risk of acute hunger
1 in 4 school going children have dropped out of school
73% of girls do not get past 10 years of school
33 million children in India are engaged in child labour*
A shocking 17.7 million children in India are out of school. Working in hazardous conditions, living on the street, braving hunger, poverty and violence, childhood for them has become an endless struggle to survive.
But despite their circumstances, they have not stopped dreaming. Their dreams are as colourful as any other child’s and they have just as much potential to fulfil them. What they lack is a fair chance – an opportunity to go school, to hone their talents, to even have a happy and carefree childhood that every child deserves.
The Mission Education programme of Smile Foundation which is an NGO in India identifies such out-of-school children from remote villages, tribal areas and urban slums, and provides them quality education. In addition to this, it also looks after their health, nutrition, and holistic development through participation in co-curricular activities.
Last year, 32,000 children across 23 states of India were directly provided education through 240 Mission Education projects. Leaving behind their circumstances, these children took the first step towards a bright future. But if their education is not continued, they may drop out of school.
We have made their education our mission. You too can support online to ensure that poverty doesn't stand in the way of a child's education. Support online and take them a step closer to their dreams.
Join and help us in our efforts to put Every Child in School.
'Maa says books are your best friend. They won’t leave you. Hence, I keep them close to me. Even though my mother cannot read or write, she always encourages me to learn and study. She is a vegetable seller. She has a small cart. I can name most of them in English. In the night she tells me fascinating stories about brave and powerful women. When I grow up, I want be like one of the women from those stories.'
Aditi studies in Grade 4 in Mission Education centre in Mumbai. She stays with her mother in a slum who is a vegetable seller. Despite Aditi's wish to go to school her mother couldn't afford to send her to school due to her financial condition. When the volunteers from Smile Foundation's Mission Education programme spoke to her and convinced her to send Aditi to school free of cost her joy knew no bounds. She encourages Aditi to study hard. Now Aditi is a very happy kid. She is a good student and excels in everything she does.
'My papa is a rickshaw puller. He is very strong and works very hard. Every morning he leaves for his work and helps people go from one place to another. Be it heat, rain or cold - my papa is always working. One time in the night, he even helped an injured uncle and took him to a nearby hospital. He also helps my school friends to travel from their home to school and back. HE always smiles and encourages me to study hard. When I grow up, I also want to help people.'
5-years-old Rishabh studies in Grade 1 at Mission Education centre in NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh. He has grown up in an urban slum to a family of daily wage workers. Since the time Rishabh has started to attend school at the Mission Education centre his father is overjoyed and is certain that Rishabh is going to do great things in the future.
‘My father died two years after my birth. We live in a very remote village. There was nobody who could support us. For several days we ate nothing. We had no money and no rice at our home. My mother then started working in a construction site. I grew up watching her crying every night holding me. I grew up watching her praying for us. I grew up seeing her never giving up on her struggles, and on me. My mother has always inspired me to study. She says, ‘only education can bring light in our dark lives.’ I have noticed the happiness on her face when she sees me dressed up in my school uniform every morning. I want to study hard, so that she never loses her smile again.'
Laxmi studies at Smile Foundation's Mission Education centre in Bolangir district, Odisha. She is a good student and takes an interest in art. Her mother is happy that her daughter is getting a good education and will not have to suffer like she did without an education. Laxmi wants to grow up to be a teacher. She wants to help children who are poor and cannot afford a good education.
'My mother earns Rs 60 a day. I have two more sisters. Father left us when we were very young. At times, she doesn’t get her daily wage on time, so we face shortage of food but she never lets us sleep on empty stomach because we have to go to school. We once secretly tried to help her financially by taking up a job of washing utensils in the nearby houses. She became very sad because she wants us to study and do something big when we grow up.'
Divya's childhood might not have been surrounded by luxuries, but she believes her mother's hard work and love is her most precious treasure. She is a student of Smile Foundation's Mission Education centre - MAEGA in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Divya is determined and positive about the future. She pays full attention to her classes at the Mission Education center. Her innocence and energy gives courage and hope to her mother too.
were directly provided education during the year through 240 Mission Education centres in 23 states across India
beneficiaries were girls to ensure a fair start for all
were first generation learners from remote villages and tribal families.
received regular nutrition & healthcare support
received training in academic methodologies, ensuring an engaging learning environment for the children
"Being a donor with Smile Foundation has been an experience of personal fulfillment. I have had the honor of sharing some very precious moments with children at a Mission Education centre and also with the warm teachers and enthusiastic leaders at Smile. Smile is extremely transparent in their workings and I am proud to be associated with an organisation that is true to its vision."
"Children are our future and I am just trying to do my part here by assisting this organization in helping some children who in-turn would become decent citizens of the country."
"Smile Foundation is doing a marvellous job. It was a pleasure to meet the Smile team and those wonderful and creative children at the centre. The teachers have ignited the feeling of optimism, curiosity to learn in all those children, making them as well as their parents aware of the significance of education. I wish them the best for future endeavours and let us all keep the spirit alive."
"I had been a donor to Smile Foundation for a few months when they invited me to visit a Mission Education centre. It felt great to see that children there were getting good education and all their other important needs were taken care of well. I would like to be with them for many more years to come."
"The initiative taken by Smile foundation to educate children is really commendable. The most important thing for the development of children is emotional balance and Smile is addressing this beautifully by interacting with the children on an individual basis besides giving them knowledge."