readers and supporters,
The development sector in India
has been going through a transformation for over a decade now. Economic
stagnation among countries which helped build the Indian NGO sector
of today has these countries looking inwards to address their own
economic woes. The “giving” dynamics is shifting globally,
also regionally. While funds for developmental initiatives are becoming
scarce, the dependence of NGOs on such funds is yet to reduce. Unless
NGOs are developed, prepared to face new challenges and keep pace,
it would be difficult for them to sustain. The urgency is to enable
community based organisations in sustaining their initiatives locally
and making them achieve optimum efficiency at the same time. The
cover story is about a Smile Foundation initiative called “Empowering
Grassroots” that addresses this need.
Youth are the most valuable
asset of India in the 21st century, like never before. By 2020,
India will be the country with the largest youth population, with
64 per cent of it in the working age. This can become the single
most important factor in elevating a major segment of its people
above poverty and inequity.
Here comes a challenge, as
large as the potential, though. Youth should not only be educated
but also rightly skilled so as to leverage the upsurge of demand
versus supply in an expanding service and retail industry brought
about by a rising middle class having new-found consumer identities.
The special feature sheds light on this important issue.
We have had an eventful and
fulfilling period of multifarious activities and initiatives that
covers the ‘life cycle approach of development’ adopted
by Smile Foundation which focuses our interventions on children,
their families and the community. During this period we received
support and encouragement from all segments of society including
eminent figures, change makers, corporate, mass media, local government
and major government apparatus alike, for which we are grateful.
We are hopeful that you will
find these stories of change at the grassroots inspiring and we
welcome you to join us in our journey as we have (s)miles to go.
Vikram Singh Verma
Chief Operating Officer