Choone Do Aasman is an annual campaign from Smile Foundation which aims to promote the cause of child education and liberate children from the bondage of illiteracy and a dark future by sending them to school and lead them onto the path of empowerment.
Like every year, the two-month long campaign promoted the cause and sensitized the privileged section of the society on the plight of underprivileged children. Choone Do Aasman garnered unequivocal support from the masses, media and celebrities. As a result, 4370 students were able to go to school by Independence Day when the campaign culminated.
Smile Foundation, supported by NDTV, initiated Choone Do Aasman (CDA) in 2009. Since then, the initiative has been able to send thousands of children to school every year.
Smile Foundation believes that education is the most effective tool which helps children build a strong foundation; enabling them to free themselves from the vicious cycle of ignorance, poverty and disease.
Smile Foundation children got a treat high on fun and frolic as they went to meet their favourite cartoon character Doraemon at DLF Place Saket, New Delhi, on May 26. They experienced a whole new world of adventure including a host of activities like dancing and singing, and posing with Doraemon.
Doraemon’s animal adventure had brought to life a special ‘JUNGLE’ theme, where the children took a roller coaster ride full of excitement to the unique Doraemon Island, Doraemon Tribal Hut, Doraemon Airship, and Doraemon Boats. The event was especially organised at DLF Place Saket for children to provide them the much needed respite and recreation, during their summer vacations.
Smile Foundation, with support from Wilde Ganzen, conducted a 3-day free residential capacity building programme for community based organisations under ‘Empowering Grassroots’.
The participating organisations were selected from Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal for the programme held between July 10 and 12, 2013 in New Delhi. Local fundraising for project management, communication and sustainability, good governance for organizational development and strengthening, building organisational competencies through 5 C model were among major sessions conducted by various subject experts, trainers and guest faculty. In the last two years, Smile Foundation has built capacities of 500 grassroots organisations under Empowering Grassroots programme in India.
IIT Madras partnered with Smile Foundation, under its annual festival ‘SAARANG’, to launch Nutrition for Better Literacy campaign by providing yearlong nutritional support to 100 underprivileged children.
Malnutrition is one of the biggest issues faced by our society today. Around eight million children in India are currently out of school, with many of them forced to work for a single meal a day. Provision of nutrition would serve as an incentive for these children to not miss school and further result in better learning outcomes for them.
A two-month campaign against child labour was also held between November 2012 and January 2013. An inter-college Choreo Night was conducted on January 10 and the proceeds of the show were given to Smile Foundation at a ceremony held on April 9, 2013 at the IIT Madras campus.
Renowned Hollywood star and martial arts legend Jackie Chan visited Smile Foundation’s integrated community development project to motivate children and provide them valuable self-defence tips at Health & Care Society, Sri Ram J. J. Camp in New Delhi.
Mr. Chan said that children held a special place in his heart and talked about the indispensability of education for any kind of social development. He also shared insights from his own life, encouraging the children to cherish their dreams. He congratulated Smile Foundation for its initiatives in building an aware and educated generation next.
Mr. Chan spent quality time inquiring about the progress of children studying at the centre and shared some light moments by dancing with them. He also took a round of the centre, discussing various facilities such as classrooms, computer rooms and livelihood training section.
JK Tyre invited a group of 25 children from Smile Foundation to Buddh International Circuit for a memorable racetrack experience, on May 12.
The children got an opportunity to visit the circuit, get a glimpse of trackside facilities including the race control room, team buildings, and team garages, visited the pit lane and also got to do one lap of the 5.14km circuit, one of the fastest F1 tracks in the world.
The children got to meet and interact with racing drivers from JK Tyre’s Motorsport Program and VW Polo R Cup series. They spoke to the children at length sharing their experiences of racing and guided them on the requisites for a career in motorsport.
Independence Day was celebrated in its true spirit, by the children of Smile Foundation, in Mumbai. Actress Prachi Desai joined the celebrations along with her mother and spent some quality time sharing her experiences with the kids.
Showcasing her support for the education of underprivileged children, she pledged the cause by signing a specially designed banner. “I congratulate Smile Foundation for the commendable work of putting wings to the dreams of these children through the beauty of education. Getting education is one of the best ways to celebrate the spirit of true independence,” said Prachi Desai.
The children had a great time with Prachi and celebrated the occasion by cutting a cake with her. They too signed the banner symbolically signifying their journey from a thumb impression towards signing their own names. Prachi also released balloons with the kids in the spirit of freedom.
FICCI Ladies Organization, in association with Smile Foundation’s local partner UTSAH, organized a Soft Skills Training Programme for the women and older children of the Hafiznagar slum area in Guwahati at the Community Youth Centre, on May 20.
The session was designed to enhance the skills of the women and children, by training them to make simple utility bags from old newspapers and magazine covers. This non-formal initiative would help to improve their chances of employment and supplement their income.
The training was imparted by entrepreneur Rita Chhawchharia who is the Treasurer of FICCI Ladies Organization, North-east chapter.
Smile Foundation staged the fourth edition of its unique initiative Ramp for Champs in the garden city of Bangalore in June. Initiated in 2011, this was the third Ramp for Champs held in the city. While the event has supported thousands of underprivileged children throughout its three seasons in Bangalore and Mumbai, this edition for Bangalore, presented by Skylark Mansions as the title partner, focused on sending 1000 girls to school.
The evening began with the lighting of the lamp by Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament, who was the chief guest for the occasion. A spectacular performance of classical guitar orchestra was given by the students of William Joseph International Academy for Performing Arts. This was followed by the ramp walk of celebrities, who were accompanied by children of Smile Foundation.
Among the multi-faceted and acclaimed celebrities extending their support for this event included Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament; Ms. Sudha Murthy, philanthropist, author and Chairperson of Infosys Foundation; Ms. Vani Ganapathi, classical dancer, choreographer and designer; Mr. Saleem Sheriff, Managing Director, Skylark Mansions; Mr. Upendra and Ms. Priyanka Upendra, Kannada actor; Ms. Tara, Kannada actress; Ms. Rubi Chakravarti, entertainment professional; Ms. Nisha Millet, national level swimmer; Dr. Ashley Williams, Chairman, William Actor Upendra and wife Priyanka walk the ramp with Smile kids Joseph Music Foundation and Director & Conductor, Indian National Symphony Orchestra; Mr. Kartik, Kannada actor; Dr. Mohammed Rehan Sayeed, Director, Motherhood; Mr. Rasheed Sait, Vice President & Managing Director, George P Johnson ; Mr. Srinivas Reddy, CEO & MD, Tusker Harley Davidson; Mr. Chandra Mauli, owner, Judge Press; Ms. Aviva Bidapa, super model and actress; Ms. Kate Elizabeth Hallam, singer; Mr. Vinod Valson, General Manager, Vivanta by Taj, M.G. Road; Ms. Lakshmi Rebecca, producer and anchor of India’s first award-winning online talk show Chai with Lakshmi; Ms. Nadira Iqbal, fashion designer and woman entrepreneur; Ms. Kulsum Shadab Wahab, Hothur Foundation; Ms. Naina Sultan Ahmed, Associate Director, EduMedia India; Rashmi Vallabhajosyula, CEO, Altius Consulting; Mr. T. K. Srivastava, Field General Manager, Union Bank , Ms. Vasanthi Hariprakash, media personality and Mr. Dakshath, Branch Head of Renault Bangalore