Dear 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.