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Responding to the Nepal Earthquake


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“Yesterday we managed to reach the inaccessible hilltops of Sindhupalchak district. We had aborted the attempt a day before.

90 per cent houses have flattened. This along with Gorkha, are two of the most affected districts.

The last village we reached was Jitupur, barely 40 kms from the border with Tibet, China. 95 of 100 houses are gone in these parts. In this village cluster spanning over many hills, 711 people lived. 26 died on the day of earthquake – including children, mothers, earning members.

The challenges in Nepal are testing everyone, the government, NGOs, police, army, doctors and the victims alike.”

This is the first hand account of Sandip Nayak, who led Smile Foundation's Disaster Response team during the earthquake relief in Nepal.

Claiming more than 9000 lives, the massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude that rocked Nepal in April 2015, left over 23,000 people injured. More than 295,000 households were destroyed; families were uprooted and broken.

Out of the 75 districts in Nepal, the worst-affected were Gorkha, Nuwakot, Sindhupal Chok, Dhading, Kavre, Dolkha, Rame Chap, and Makwanpur. Towns and villages near the epicentre at Barpak village of the Gorkha district in central Nepal had suffered almost total devastation.

Being an indigenous Indian organization, Smile Foundation had never worked in Nepal before. But this did not deter us from immediately responding as the earthquake took its toll in an immediate neighbour country. Taking prompt action, a small team including volunteers and experts was prepared and sent to Nepal to understand and assess the critical situation on ground.

Relief Operations – Phase I

Smile Foundation has always taken a serious and rational approach while responding to incidents of natural disasters and emergencies, be it during the Kashmir Earthquake in 2005, the Tsunami, the Uttarakhand Floods in 2013 or the Jammu & Kashmir floods in 2014, and we took a similar approach in Nepal.

Assessment, planning and logistics play a very

 

important role in minimizing wastage of relief material in suchdesperate times of need, and hence this is where we started. As the team started reporting back from Nepal, the desperate situation of the survivors became evident.

There was more than enough relief material piling up in the motorable parts of Kathmandu valley, but due to improper management, it was not being distributed in some of the most affected remote districts. People in the cut-off areas were angry and desperate.

The Smile Foundation team, determined to reach the parts where the need was the highest, taking help of the Army and Police where required and partnering with local NGOs like Karuna Foundation, Mitrata Foundation, and the Lion's Club Kathmandu, was able to visit some of the remotest villages and initiate voluntary relief operations in these areas.

Relief material including packaged food and ration in sufficient quantities was distributed to 278 families in Kainigaon village of the Nawakot District. Because of the difficult terrain, no aid had reached this village so far, which happens to be one of the worst affected villages in the district.

Three tipper loads of relief material were distributed in a govt. school in Jitupur village of the Sindhupalchak district. The school had become a shelter as almost everyone was homeless and grieving after losing family members.

Relief Operations – Phase II

After completing the first phase of its relief operations and having assessed the immediate need of the earthquake survivors, Smile Foundation move on to the second phase of its relief operations. With the impending monsoon, adequate shelter seemed to be the biggest challenge – shelter for the people as well as for storing food material, medicines and other utilities.

Children, mothers and elders had been the worst affected by the tragedy and were finding it hard to sustain. Heavy rains would have made the situation even more challenging. Accordingly, heavy duty tarpaulin, tents and galvanized steel structures were acquired and distributed, providing shelter to children and families in the most affected areas.

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Joyful learning begins for children in Sundergarh, Odisha


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To inculcate a habit of learning subjects like Maths and Science amongst the young children of Mission Education centre Love Society amid Kutra forest in Sundergarh, Odisha, teachers are now making use of innovative Teaching Learning Materials.

The classrooms have been turned into innovative workshops, where difficult concepts are made easy through use of simple educational tool kits and children learn through story-telling, games and interactive activities.

This methodology has become an instant hit with the children, who now look forward to attend classes and enthusiastically prepare well in advance for their lessons. There has been a boost in not only the attendance at the centre, but also in the performance and confidence levels of the children.

With the realization that most of the children enrolled at Mission Education centres are first generation learners, continuous attempts are made to make the learning process simple, fun and engaging for the children.

Taking health services to street children in Santa Cruz, Mumbai

T he Smile on Wheels mobile hospital project in Mumbai held a special health camp for 150 street children and their families who have been taking shelter under the Santa Cruz-Chembur bridge, bringing them a rare access to primary healthcare.

The people of this impoverished community, who only have this under bridge space to call home, are relentlessly working throughout the day trying to make ends meet. Most of them work as hawkers at nearby traffic signals.

Needless to say, healthcare and sanitation go unattended as they struggle everyday to keep hunger at bay. As a result, many children from the community had become severely anaemic and were found to be suffering from maladies like malaria, skin diseases, open cuts, untreated wounds, asthma, etc.

The camp was helpful for the families as they were provided doorstep services including OPD sessions, diagnosis, and free distribution of medicines. Besides this, health counselling was done to promote a health-seeking behaviour in the community.

 


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STeP trainees visit retail outlets for hands-on experience

Industry exposure visits were done by STeP students at various reputed service and retail sector brands including Reliance, Big Bazaar, Select City Walk Mall, Mahanand Dairy, Presto Dry Cleaners and Oberoi Mall.

A part of the 6-month STeP course, these visits aim to equip the youth with first-hand industry knowledge and increase their chances of employment in the service, retail and ITES sectors.

During the visit the students were given a brief idea about the work culture, operations, procedures and the wide array of career opportunities of the companies. They were also trained on dealing with everyday challenges related to business, people and situations.

Students not only eagerly participated in the activity, but also provided their own inputs to achieve better customer satisfaction, based on their personal experiences. They were extremely happy to realise that their training is well aligned with the market requirements.

New Computer Literacy centres for children in rural areas

Children studying at community schools in remote villages of Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, and Nagpur, Maharashtra are now coming to school with a new enthusiasm. The reason is the recently inaugurated computer literacy centres in their schools, under Smile Foundation's Chid for Child (CFC) programme.

The schools have been providing primary education to more than 800 children, belonging to tribal and less privileged families. These children, most of them first generation learners, had never been introduced to computers before. Their joy was evident as they explored the newly installed systems and started learning the basics of computers.

The local administration, media, village elders and parents have welcomed the initiative, promising to give full security and support to the project.

This is a step towards bridging the existing gaps and inequalities between the privileged and underprivileged children, which is one of the major objectives of the Child for Child programme.

 



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Life Skill Training for Swabhiman Scholars



 

A two-day Life Skill Training was organised for 25 Swabhiman scholars and their mentors, with a focus on goal setting and career planning. Professor Nisar Ahmed and Ms. Varsha Chanda, both experts in training, communication and capacity building, joined the Swabhiman team in conducting the training.

These 25 meritorious girls are also role models for younger children in their communities. They have been awarded scholarships under the Swabhiman programme after they completed their primary education with excellence, despite coming from difficult social and economic circumstances. In high schools or colleges, they have been receiving the scholarships for three years now.

Such trainings, workshops and exposure visits are conducted regularly for the Swabhiman scholars to help them hone their overall personality, opening up maximum opportunities for them.

Dedicated to the welfare of women and the girl child, Swabhiman works through an innovative approach called the '4 S Model', which stands for Seeking Healthcare as a Behaviour, Support for Education, Supporters in Men, and Sustaining Change in Communities.

49 children from Hafiznagar slum in Guwahati begin formal schooling

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Children and teachers from Mission Education centre UTSAH, located in Hafiznagar slum at Bamunimaidan in Guwahati, Assam, are in celebration mode. 49 children from the centre, who had earlier been spending their childhood working hard to earn a living, have been mainstreamed into reputed government and private schools. For these children, this is the first step towards a secure and bright future.

Since most of the enrolled children are first generation learners, innovative teaching methods are used in the classrooms to hold their interest and motivate them to be engaged in the learning processes.

Besides the teachers, young volunteers from the community, as well as from universities across India, have come and introduced various creative forms for educating the children, which have been helpful in enhancing the learning capacities of the children. These students have worked intensively to create innovative modules that encourage the children to attend their classes regularly.

TN Governor felicitates school principals as change agents

A felicitation ceremony was organised in Chennai to recognize school Principals for being positive change agents in the society. These principals have been associated with Smile Foundation’s Child for Child programme, and have been instrumental in creating a bridge between privileged and underprivileged children in the community.

The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Dr. K Rosaiah, was invited as the Guest of Honour.

“I am very happy to be present here on this occasion, among so many heads of institutions who are being felicitated by Smile Foundation for being socially responsible. Their sensitization programme Child for Child (CFC) in privileged schools is the need of the day. These children are our future. If they are properly educated and taught to be socially responsible, it will bring about a change in their thinking and attitude”, the Governor said, as he felicitated and addressed the gathering of over 30 school principals.

Initiated in 2006, 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.

Currently, Child for Child reaches out to nearly one million privileged children in 1500 schools spread across 417 districts of the country. In addition, their parents and teachers are also involved in the process.

Specifically in Tamil Nadu, more than 40,000 children are being sensitized every year.

 





 

 New Smile on Wheels project in Hyderabad covering 18 slums

Smile on Wheels mobile hospital project has been launched in Hyderabad, Telangana, with support from the United Health Group (UHG). Benefitting 18 slums and resettlement colonies in the city, the project aims to take preventive, curative, promotive and referral healthcare services to the doorsteps of the marginalized children and families.

The mobile hospital is staffed with a qualified doctor, nurse, lab technician, pharmacist, community mobilizer and project coordinator. Besides medical consultation and diagnosis, the people will also be provided with free of cost medicines and lab testing facilities. Specialized health camps will supplement the mobile hospital as and when required.

Coming into action the very first day, the Smile on Wheels team in Telangana organized the maiden camp at Khanameta slum, near Shilparamam. The slum is home to rag pickers and migrant labourers, living in highly congested, unhygienic and vulnerable surroundings.

During the next one year, the project will be directly benefitting more than 19,500 people.

 



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First-aid training session for volunteers in Bilaspur, HP

A two-day first aid awareness and emergency response session was organized in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh under the Smile on Wheels mobile health project. Attended by 27 volunteers from different villages, the session was aimed at enhancing the preparedness of the community during health emergencies.

Situated in rough terrain and surrounded by hills on all sides, access to proper medical care for people in these villages doesn't always come promptly and due to this, the inhabitants sometimes have to travel 25-30kms to get any assistance. Lack of resources, poor infrastructure, and shortage of trained doctors make the scenario worse, which in turn makes it even more crucial for the village volunteers to be ready to act as first responders.

The session covered various sorts of unforeseen health issues like heart attack, cardiac arrest, road accident, choking, stroke, and trauma care. Some intricacies relating to emergency situations such as correct way to perform CPR on a person, use of oxygen cylinder, use of AED medicine, and lifting technique for an injured person were also discussed.

 

Swabhiman health camp for slum women in Bengaluru



 

A special health camp was organized for women, adolescent girls and children at Muneshwaranagar in Bengaluru, Karnataka, under Smile Foundation's Swabhiman programme.

More than 100 women benefitted from the camp, including expecting mothers for whom ante-natal check-ups and one-on-one counselling sessions were held. The health camp, led by Dr. Shanthi from KSM medical centre, and assisted by Swabhiman Health Volunteers (SHVs) and Community Health Educators (CHEs), provided preventive and curative health services as well as free medicines to the beneficiaries.

The community women were also made aware of hygiene practices and healthy eating habits that they should adopt in their daily lives, and subsequently in their families' routine.

Dedicated to the welfare of women and the girl child, Swabhiman functions with the belief that when women our empowered, the whole society benefits – families are healthier, children go to school, income levels improve and communities become more prosperous.

Film inspires Ryan International students in Ludhiana

More than 500 students from Ryan International School, Dugri, in Ludhiana, Punjab, were treated to a screening of the parallel movie 'I am Kalam', which narrates the story of an underprivileged boy, who is inspired by our former President Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and his quest for knowledge.

The screening was followed by discussions and interactive sessions where representatives from the Child for Child team discussed how the children could implement learnings from the film in their own lives.

The film screening was an effort towards making school children aware and sensitized about vital social issues, and inculcating in them strong values that they can uphold throughout their lives, growing up to be responsible citizens and change makers.

Smile Foundation visits various privileged schools across India and conducts such engaging sessions for the young minds, under its Child for Child programme.

 

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Children lead awareness rally on cleanliness in Burdwan

125 children from Dhobaru Ranisayer, in Burdwan district of West Bengal, took on the responsibility of spreading awareness on the importance of environment, health and cleanliness among their community. Taking out an early morning rally, the children covered five villages of the Kanska block.

Mothers, people going to work in the fields, elders, local leaders, all were greeted with enthusiastic slogans such as “Ekti Gach Ekti Pran, Gach Lagan Pran Bachan” (One Tree One Life, Plant a Tree Save a Life). The children had prepared creative placards, banners and posters to help spread the message more effectively.

The initiative turned out to be engaging and informative, both for the children and the community members, who later joined the kids in pledging to protect the environment.

As students of Mission Education centre SERVE, these children are being brought up as not only educated, but aware and responsible individuals, who can contribute positively to the society.

 

New Smile on Wheels project in Kalahandi, Odisha



 

A new Smile on Wheels mobile hospital project has begun operations at Bhawani Patna in Thuamul Rampur Block of Kalahandi district, Odisha. The project was flagged off by Honorable Collector cum District Magistrate of Kalahandi, Dr. Brinda D.

The mobile healthcare unit has been provided with a team of qualified and experienced medical professionals, along with diagnostic and pathological kits, and medicines. Aimed at providing preventive and curative healthcare services at the doorsteps of people in 42 villages of the Thuamul Rampur Block, the project will also promote a health-seeking behaviour in the community.

Kalahandi has been listed as one of the 250 most backward districts and has had a history of frequent droughts, often leading to severe food and health crisis. Coupled with deficiency of trained doctors, this makes quality healthcare out of bounds for the socio-economically marginalized population of the area.

Smile Foundation has partnered with Odisha Voluntary Health Association (OVHA) for the project, which is being supported by TATA Trusts.


Certificate Distribution at STeP centre in Mumbai

The felicitation ceremony of youth who have successfully completed their training under the Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) from the Prayog centre, at Kamathipura in Mumbai, was held. The ceremony was special as it was clubbed with the orientation programme of a fresh badge of youth, to bring them on the same platform with their alumni.

After a few fun ice-breaking activities and round of introductions, the students who had completed the course were handed their certificates. Anil Kumar Bansal, Nonika and Swati Shukla from Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance, which is supporting the centre, distributed the certificates and motivated the students to work hard for achieving their dreams.

Many of the students have already been placed at good positions in reputed brands and shared their experience, giving handy tips to the new students on the do's and don'ts of job interviews.

 

Workshop on reproductive health for adolescent girls


 

Women and adolescent girls from the Heganahalli slum cluster attended a workshop on reproductive and maternal health. Ms. Udayshree, from the Karnatak State Council for Child Welfare, joined the Swabhiman team in Bengaluru to conduct the workshop.

She started by discussing changes that take place in a woman's body from the age of 11 to 55 years, asking questions frequently to keep the participants engaged throughout the session.

Sources of common infections and high risk areas according to various age groups for which all women need to take precautions were brought up, and suggestions were exchanged on how to deal with these vulnerabilities. Some women and girls from the community also shared their individual problems with the experts.

Maternal health was the third major aspect covered during the workshop, which highlighted the dietary needs of expecting and lactating mothers. A demo diet chart was prepared, with active involvement of the participants, who also volunteered to share the same with other women from the community.

Taking learning beyond the classroom in Hyderabad

53 children from Mission Education centre Karuna Trust in Hyderabad, Telangana, spent an exciting day learning about wildlife at the Nehru Zoological Park.

Enjoying their visits to the Jurassic Park, Butterfly Park, Aquarium, Museum, Toy Train and Boat Rides, the kids were more than happy to see the pages of their science books come alive.

Not willing to let rain dampen their spirits, the children had a fun and enriching experience, complete with a guided knowledge session on wildlife conservation. A special lunch for the children was also put in place by a group of volunteers who had joined the teachers in planning the excursion.

Having been in existence for more than half a century, the Nehru Zoological Park is one of the first zoos in India to have open enclosures with no barriers between and the visitors and the animals. After the zoo, the children also visited the city's historical landmark Charminar.

 

Career Counseling sessions by “special” trainers

Aseries of focused career counselling sessions were organised at STeP centres in Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow, to provide guidance to the youth trainees regarding their choice of career. Professionals from various reputed companies and multinationals were invited to cover a wide range of industries and sectors.

These special trainers made it a point to not only give the students useful tips to the students, but also took efforts to familiarise them with everyday situations from their respective workplaces by organising mock interview sessions and interesting role plays.

Emphasising on personality development, soft skills and confidence building, the professionals also advised the trainees to build on their leadership qualities.

Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) is a national level livelihood programme that trains urban underprivileged youth with market-oriented job skills, making them employed in retail and service sectors across India.

 



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Free health camp for school children in Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand

A free health camp was conducted for the children of Maikhanda School in Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand, under the Integrated Healthcare Rehabilitation Programme. The camp included routine medical check-up, free diagnosis and medicine distribution, along with counselling on health and hygiene related issues. More than 130 children benefitted from the health camp.

Maikhanda is a small hilly village located in Ukhimath block of Rudraprayag district. The families living here are mostly cultivators and agricultural labours, and due to lack of awareness never pay enough attention to healthcare. As such, the school health programme including regular health check-ups and sensitisation sessions helps imbibe a health-seeking behaviour in children of the community from the very beginning.

Eleven Gram Panchayat covering 23 villages like Maikhanda are being covered under the intervention, which comprises of a mobile healthcare unit, well qualified medical professionals, pathological labs, medicine depots, and static clinics.

 

Value Education workshops in schools across India



 

The Value Education workshops being conducted under the Child for Child (CFC) programme are being highly appreciated by principals and parents from schools across India.

Children and teachers now take the lead and actively participate in the workshops, coming forward to share their views about and experiences with the underprivileged sections of society and volunteering to contribute their time, knowledge and resources for their welfare.

Reputed schools and educational institutions from Delhi, Mathura (UP), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Chennai and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai (Maharashtra), Goa, Sausar (MP), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Ludhiana and Patiala (Punjab), and Surat (Gujarat) invited Smile Foundation to conduct the Value Education workshops.

Smile Foundation visits various privileged schools across India and conducts engaging sessions for the young minds, under CFC programme. Children are sensitized to various causes and value systems and are ushered to realize the importance of growing up as responsible citizens of the country.

Village members promote education in Patna, Bihar

Mothers and village elders from Digha Mushari in Patna, Bihar, attended a community meeting at Mission Education centre DVAS, with the teachers and project coordinator, to discuss the children's progress and devise a strategy to further promote education in nearby villages.

The areas which need development at the centre were brought up, along with challenges being faced by the teachers including enrolments and drop-outs. Mothers volunteered to help with the enrolments of non-school going children and improving the attendance at the centre by talking to their neighbours and peers.

Methods to promote education and explore more opportunities for the holistic development of children were also encouraged. All the community members took a resolution to take active part in the centre's activities and the learning process of children.

Village Education Committees, Mother Groups and community meetings are an integral part of the Mission Education programme.

 



6000 youth to receive training at 50 new STeP centres

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A new window of opportunity opened for 6000 young men and women from slums of Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Gurgaon, with the launch of 50 new Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) centres.

While metropolitan cities offer a plethora of career choices and lucrative job options to youth, those from the socio-economically marginalized segments of society are often left out. 

As children, these youth could not complete their education because of extreme conditions at home. Later they could not get a decent job because of lack of the required skill set. Many of them would have ended up continuing with their parents’ profession, mostly labour work or low paid temporary jobs without ever hoping for even basic financial and social security, and their children would have probably shared a similar fate.

 



Smile Foundation’s STeP programme is an attempt to break this cycle at an early stage. The programme enrols urban underprivileged youth and trains them in market oriented job skills such as computers, communication, retail management, marketing and personality development. These youth are then placed in reputed brands from the retail and service sector, finally stepping towards a dignified and independent livelihood.

20 of the new STeP centres have been supported by Ericsson India and the rest 30 by Ericsson Global, taking the total number of operational centres in the country to 67.

Specialised Health Camps for daily wage labourers

Smile Foundation conducted a series of specialized Smile Health Camps exclusively for casual / daily wage labourers and workers from unorganized sectors across 32 locations of India.

Patna and Muzaffarpur in Bihar; Cuttack and Sambalpur in Odisha; Kolkata and Durgapur in West Bengal; Ranchi and Jamshedpur in Jharkhand; Jammu and Srinagar in J & K; Jalandhar in Punjab; Noida, Meerut, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Kanpur and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh; Dehradun in Uttarakhand; Kangra in Himachal Pradesh; Mayapuri in Delhi; Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan; Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh; Mumbai, Nagpur and Nasik in Maharashtra; Panaji in Goa; Rajkot in Gujarat and Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala; were covered under this special series. A few locations had more than one camp each.

Health care doesn't get priority as a casual labourer has to earn a day's wage to feed his family. Similar workers, their children and families form a sizeable portion of the beneficiaries through two of Smile Foundation's major healthcare models namely, Smile on Wheels and Smile Health Camps.

Each camp had a team of two doctors, one lab technician and four paramedics cum support staff. Skin allergy, vision, cough, TB, silicosis, blood glucose and haemoglobin etc. were part of the primary health check-up. The beneficiaries were also oriented on numerous health hazards and how to take precaution while taking up hazardous jobs. In addition, counselling and referral services, health supplements such as fruits, packed juice, cakes, biscuits and Chyawanprash etc. were made available free of cost.

Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd. supported this series of Smile Health Camps.

 



Increase in enrollments at ME centre in Auraiya, UP

Within a year, the total number of children enrolled at the Mission Education centres in Auraiya district, Uttar Pradesh has increased from 80 to 308. These children have been inducted from the villages of Pata, Kannoh, Khanpur and Vaisundhara that are some of the remotest in the district.

Not only this, the children have also begun showing noticeable excellence in their marksheets. This is a result of their regular attendance at the remedial centres, enthusiasm in learning, and the painstaking efforts of the teachers.

To ensure that every challenging student improves in studies, a systematic teaching approach is practiced, which includes daily lesson plan, weekly revision, regular checking of notebooks and monthly and impact assessment tests. Activities like Bal Sabha, debates, and quizzes are organised on a regular basis to enhance the level of leadership and sharing knowledge among the children.

Besides education, the programme also provides primary healthcare services through the Smile Health Camp model to the whole community.

 

Volunteers from Scottish Church College teach STeP students

Learning became extra fun for students of Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) centre Bitan in Budge Budge, Kolkata, when volunteers from Scottish Church College joined the regular trainers at the centre.

The main areas covered by the volunteers were career counseling and pre interview preparation of the students. Sharing their own experiences and real life examples, the volunteers worked on enhancing the communication, vocal and interpersonal skills of the students.

Volunteer Engagement is an important aspect of STeP, under which privileged youth from reputed colleges and universities take the onus of adding value to the learning process of their less privileged counterparts.

These young dedicated volunteers not only score high with the students by bringing a more interactive approach in the classrooms, but being of the same age group, are also able to understand better and resolve the various challenges that the students face.

 

Community Meetings to ensure Safe Motherhood



 

When mothers are healthy and empowered, the whole society benefits – families are healthier, children go to school, income levels improve and communities become prosperous.

A rooftop in a congested slum cluster near Malviya Nagar, New Delhi, was converted into a classroom for 30 mothers. They had gathered to attend a session on Safe Motherhood, facilitated by health experts including Dr. Vineeta, Head – Community Health Department, St. Stephen’s Hospital.

Using illustrative charts, question answer methodology, demonstrations and simple games, the mothers were educated on pertinent issues such as nutrition, personal hygiene, reproductive health, and antenatal and prenatal checkups.

Later, each one of them made a presentation based on their understanding of the session. They also volunteered to share the learning with their neighbors and peers from the community.

Mothers are kept at the centre of Smile Foundation’s Swabhiman programme that seeks to promote a health-seeking behaviour among women, giving them relevant knowledge and exposure.

Rathinam International students bond with Smile kids in Coimbatore

Children of Rathinam International Public School, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, visited Smile Foundation's Mission Education centre to make some new friends. The school has been a partner under the Child for Child programme for the last four years.

Around 20 students from Rathinam International, along with their teachers and the School Principal, were present during the visit and had a fun filled day as they engaged in activities like games, songs and poem recitation with the Smile kids, and exchanged learning tips.

The students also improvised and presented a dance performance for the children at the centre. Motivated and inspired, the Smile kids broke into applause, in their turn impressing the Rathinam International students with some impromptu dance steps and songs.

Such interactions are encouraged and facilitated under the Child for Child programme, which seeks to sensitize privileged children and inculcate in them a responsibility towards the less privileged sections of society, particularly children like themselves.

 



Mothers cherish the joy of learning in Guna, MP



 

More than 50 mothers have begun to cherish the joy of learning at Adult Education Centres established under the Integrated Education and Health programme in Guna district in Madhya Pradesh. These women who had never been to school before were 'inspired to learn' by their children who are regular students at our Mission Education centres.

Two dedicated centres were set up in Chainpura and Bablikheda villages when the women of these villages demanded a school where they could come and learn how to read and write.

These women are being taught basic language skills in Hindi and English and simple mathematics through a specially formulated lesson plan. Classes are held on flexible timings, as these women have to juggle farm work and household responsibilities.

The initiative has brought an improvement in the functional literacy level among the women and in the community as a whole. Today, these mothers are spearheading the change movement in rural Guna – a change that is there to stay, with educated children, healthy families and empowered mothers!

Special Health Camp for homeless community in East Delhi




 

A specialised Smile Health Camp was organised for the homeless community living around Mansarovar Park in Shahdara, Delhi. 248 people benefitted from the camp, including young mothers and children.

A team of doctors from St. Stephen's hospital led by Dr. Vineeta Gupta facilitated the health camp, with help from lab technician Mr. Danish Khan and a team of volunteers from BlackRock that had also supported the camp.

Belonging to the Banjara tribal community, these homeless people are daily wage earners. Mostly engaged as street peddlers, they are left out of the routine health programmes, owing to the nature of their work. Specialized and multi-disciplinary health camps become the only solution for them.

Smile Health Camps is a special initiative of Smile Foundation to provide curative, preventive, promotive and referral healthcare services to meet the immediate needs of the marginalized community in remote rural areas and urban slums through standalone camps.

Teachers at ME centre in Salem walk the extra mile



 

Regular home visits by teachers are resulting in better attendance of students at VRDP under Mission Education programme in Salem, Tamil Nadu. Currently the centre is providing education to 120 children who belong to extremely poor tribal families.

Never exposed to any form of education before, these children were mostly engaged in child labour as coir makers, coolies, construction labourers and were extra earning sources for the families. Even if they were enrolled in school, most of them would eventually drop out.

To help them enter and stay in the fold of education, the teachers are regularly counselling the parents and conducting door to door visits.

The home visits are focused on encouraging the parents to get involved with the learning process and holistic development of their children. They are also motivated to visit the centre from time to time and share their feedback and ideas.

Campaign to prevent outbreak of dengue in Delhi slums

With more than 500 cases coming to light, the reporting period registered the highest incidents of dengue in Delhi, compared to the last five years. The situation was worst in the city’s slums where poor sanitation, open drains and pools of stagnant water made the people highly vulnerable to mosquito borne diseases.

To prevent an outbreak and sensitise these communities about the dangers of dengue, the Smile on Wheels mobile hospital project team in Delhi organised a series of health talks, awareness rallies and street plays at multiple locations in the capital. A team of trained artists engaged people through innovative methods like street plays and puppet shows, heightening their curiosity by the use of local language and popular drama.

Promoting a health seeking behaviour, along with spreading timely awareness on seasonal and viral diseases, is an integral part of the Smile Foundation’s healthcare programme.

 

STeP students in Mumbai benefit from employer interactions

240 students from STeP centres SHED and SMVS in Mumbai got an opportunity to interact with their prospective employers. Hiring teams from HRIM Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and Tri-com Pvt. Ltd. visited the two centres respectively, and spent a whole day with the youth trainees.

Besides informing them about the current vacancies with their companies, they also shared the pre-requisites and roles and responsibilities for each position in detail. They also shared their inputs on the first interview, decision making, dressing code, self-confidence and other important aspects of job interviews with the students, helping them get ready for their upcoming placements.

Most of these youth will be the first generation of white-collar workers in their families, joining the mainstream organized job market. So far, STeP has trained more than 18,000 youth and placed over 12,000 in reputed retail and service sector brands across India.

 

Immunization Camp for newborns in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh

E ven though medical science has made great progress in the country, the reach and knowledge of advanced healthcare services is yet to spread in the marginalized communities, making the children in such places vulnerable, and mothers helpless.

In Chakrabata village of Bilaspur district, Chhattisgarh, lack of awareness and extreme poverty had made newborns susceptible to health hazards, many of which are easily preventable by vaccines.

An immunization awareness drive and camp was initiated by Mission Education centre Mitwa in the village, educating the mothers about the importance of vaccination, the right time of each vaccine, and providing a healthy and nutritious diet to the kids.

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) joined hands with the centre, by facilitating vital vaccines such as BCG, Hepatitis B and Oral Polio Vaccine.

Mothers in the community have now pledged to build a better future for their children, with good health and education as its foundation.

 

ANZ employees guide STeP students in Bengaluru

With the aim to bring together employers and prospective employees by involving them through an informal dialogue and an exchange of experience, a team from ANZ was invited to interact with STeP students at the Ilyaz Nagar centre in Bengaluru.

After a round of introductions, the ANZ employees share their work place experiences with the young STeP trainees, highlighting the dos and don'ts that would help them build a career in a formal organization. They also apprised them about the various challenges that they should be ready to face when they get their first job.

Interactive and highly engaging sessions on goal setting were held, along with a special talk on Assertive Communication and its importance in both personal and professional life.

The STeP students, who thoroughly enjoyed all the sessions, impressed the team from ANZ with their well put queries and observations. For the employees, it turned out to be a two way learning process.

 


Awareness session on breastfeeding in Rae Bareli, UP

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, mothers from Pahadpur village in Rare Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, came together to discuss the important issue of breastfeeding, as health experts addressed their concerns and questions.

The session included promotion of breastfeeding awareness, and education on the same, with discussion on topics like correct positioning and latches for successful breastfeeding, and advantages of breastfeeding for mothers, children, families, and the whole community.

Information was shared on how breastfeeding keeps a baby healthy, nursing frequency, changes in volume and composition of the milk, and how breastfeeding provides proportionate nutrition to babies and protects them against infections and allergies.

The awareness session was part of the Smile on Wheels mobile hospital project operational in 10 villages of Harchandpur Block in Rae Bareli district. Besides providing doorstep curative and preventive healthcare services at the doorsteps of villagers, the project also promotes a health seeking behaviour in the community.

 

New Swabhiman project to empower women & adolescents in Delhi slums

Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc., has partnered with Smile Foundation to support a new Swabhiman Project in six slum communities across Delhi, namely New Ashok Nagar, Shashi Garden and Bismil Camp in East Delhi, and Chattarpur Nut Colony, Chattarpur Pahari and Ambedkar Colony in South Delhi.

The two-year long project is providing healthcare services to the migrant community living in the slum areas of East and South Delhi, with focus on women, girl children and adolescents through a mobile health clinic. In addition, four specialized health camps will be organized every month, to address the specific medical needs of the target population.

Besides curative services, community engagement for awareness sessions and educational activities will be conducted to ensure awareness, adolescent health care, child survival, safe motherhood, and community empowerment.

The Swbhiman project is expected to cover more than 150,000 women, children and adolescents in two years.

 

Annual Sports Festival at ME centre in Bengaluru

A week-long Annual Sports Festival was organized for children of Mission Education centre Lovedale in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Children made the most of this break from regular classroom learning and actively participated in different games including races, long jump, volley ball, kabaddi, kho-kho, basketball, etc.

The centre inducts children of daily wagers working in the stone quarries of Kannur, Erappanahally, Kagarahara, Rampura and Anagalpura villages in the Bangalore Rural district. These people work hard in an extremely hazardous environment, trying to provide their families two square meals a day. Many have been doing the same work since childhood, and had lost the hope to dream of any other future for their children.

But today, the 250 children have become beacons of hope for the community. Provided with quality education, nutritious food and various opportunities to develop their co-curricular skills in sports, dance, painting and debate – these children are now growing up as confident and happy individuals.

 

Hygiene sessions for children of brick kiln workers in Thane

A programme on personal hygiene has been initiated for children of Mission Education centre BHT at Kalyan in Thane, Maharashtra. The first round of sessions was held on the simple but vital practice of hand washing.

With their parents working at brick kilns in and around the area, the children often end up spending most of their time in a hazardous environment, and become vulnerable to various diseases. These diseases are preventable by following basic dietary and hygienic practices, which often go untended due to lack of awareness in the community. Poor health conditions often affect the education and overall mental development of a child adversely.

Concerned about the health and well being of the children, teachers at the centre took the initiative to organize this activity to spread awareness about cleanliness and hygiene among the children and their parents.

The programme will further be covering other important aspects like healthy eating habits and oral hygiene.

 

 

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