C ertification Day was organized at the Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) centre at OVHA, Balakati village in Khurda district, Orissa.
Each of the 40 youth, having seen difficulties in life quite early, joined the programme with high hopes for their families and their own future. None of them disappointed their teachers and families. They have joined various companies in finance, service and retail sectors in and around Bhubaneswar after completing the six month market-oriented employability training.
Sashmita Das, daughter of a small-time farmer, travelled five kilometres every day from her village to the centre. After landing up her job, she is now hopeful of supporting her three sisters and two brothers secure a brighter future.
So far 14,500 youth like Sashmita have been trained in 35 STeP centres across India.
S mile Foundation children learn the tricks and techniques of photography in Mission Education’s Nai Disha centre in Noida.
Faculty from Indian Institute of Photography trained the children who wished to take up photography and film making as their career. When education is not limited to books and goes beyond four walls of classroom it leads to holistic development. All round development not only empowers them but also helps them pursue their dreams.
Among other skills, the workshop helped the children inculcate a creative perspective, and photography in specific, and inspired them to apply the knowledge in their day-to-day lives.
M ission Education programme, IPER, Institute of Psychological and Educational Research, centre in West Bengal, celebrated its 42nd anniversary on July 15. Underprivileged kids were at the centre of the colourful celebrations which saluted their spirit and resilience.
‘Gondho Bichar’ of the celebrated Bengali children’s writer Sukumar Ray, was selected by the children to enact a one hour drama ‘Ajab Desher Safar’- ‘A tour around the Wonderland’. More than 40 children participated in the play, to prepare for which they had attended theatre and personality development workshops.
Around 200 children from eight NGOs witnessed the sparkling kaleidoscope of acting, singing, painting and dancing.
The audience at Gyan Manch, including personalities like Alokananda Roy, prominent social worker and dancer and Roshni Sen, Secretary Social Welfare, were left spell bound after the performance and gave the children a standing ovation.
A Agoal-oriented method of assessing the learning of students, mid-term assessments, has been introduced under the STeP programme to make the training sessions more effective and enhance the overall learning experience of the youth.
Mid-term assessment was first introduced only in HPCL supported centres – Prayog International Foundation for Social Action Research, Don Bosco Society and Family Planning Association of India. The system yielded positive results and has now been implemented in all the STeP centres across India.
The assessment tests are conducted by the subject trainers and evaluate the learning level of the students in each subject.
Conducted twice a year, the tests are generally objective in nature. Mid-term assessment develops a disciplined approach towards studies in the students and helps them identify their weak areas. More than 140 students have taken the mid-term assessment in the ongoing term.
Anew Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) centre has been launched at Virgonagar, Medahalli in Bengaluru. Supported by BOSCH India Foundation, the philanthropic arm of BOSCH India, this centre became operational on April 22. Vidyaranya is the implementing partner for the centre.
This is the second STeP centre in Karnataka and the 35th project in India.
The inauguration function took off with the lighting of lamp by Ms. Pankaja, Deputy Director, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Karnataka, followed by the launch of the centre by Dr. Jessy Fenn, Project Manager, BOSCH India Foundation.
Ms. Pankaja applauded Smile Foundation, Bosch India and Vidyaranya for helping the marginalised youth in gaining employment and thus putting them on the path of sustainable empowerment.
The course curriculum for STeP has been developed by the International Management Institute, New Delhi and the computer course has been certified by Microsoft.
Volunteers, teachers and mentors at Mission Education Programme’s Sparsh Centre went for a newspaper collection drive around King’s Circle, Mumbai. The idea was to engage the privileged people in the neighbourhood in the process of development and to create awareness about the cause of child education.
The initiative turned out to be an encouragement towards raising whatever resources possible locally to support critical teaching and learning expenditure. People supported the idea wholeheartedly.
Smile Foundation tries to sensitize the civil society regularly and involves them in the process of development locally. The larger aim is to make them equal partners in grassroots projects in order to achieve accountability as well as to sustain the initiatives in the long run.
Sambalpur University has nominated Smile Foundation to its University level Advisory Committee of the National Service Scheme (NSS). Vice Chancellor Prof. Bishnu Charan Barik is the committee’s chairman, with Revenue Commissioner, Northern Division (Odisha) and Registrar Prof. Somnath Bag among its core members. The university’s jurisdiction covers 10 districts of Odisha.
Youth is a powerful force of change in a country like India, with more than half of its population below the age of 25. It has the potential, the drive and the energy to bring change; what it needs is direction and motivation. The NSS has taken charge of tapping this potential in college students, where they are sensitized to the needs of society and engaged in community activities.
Smile Foundation’s nomination is based on its decade-long grassroots level development work in the region. Smile Foundation will give its inputs, help design the programmes and share its experience throughout the year on how to engage the youth meaningfully under the NSS programme.
Anutrition support programme was initiated under Mission Education programme at Mahesh Foundation’s ‘Home for the Homeless’ centre in Belgaum, Karnataka in July. The children are also receiving education under the project.
The nutrition support initiative is benefiting 350 children enrolled at the centre. Growth and healthcare of each child is monitored regularly, besides having three nutritious meals a day.
After the success of the initiative for the children, the nutrition support is now extended to poor patients at an adjacent hospital serving people living with HIV/AIDS.
Rabindra-Najrul Jayanti, commemorating the birth anniversaries of eminent Bengali cultural and literary icons and socio-political reformers, Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Najrul Islam, was celebrated across the education centres of Sabuj Sangha under Mission Education programme in West Bengal.
Cultural programmes were held at Kalikapur, Bethberia, Baruipur and Dakshin with children participating in activities like songs, recitations, dances and plays — all based on compositions of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Najrul Islam.
The programme was facilitated by the Child Core Group members of different areas. Parents and other people from the community appreciated the efforts of the students and also participated actively in the festivities themselves.
School Health Awareness Programme was organized in Runi, Indramala, Rugnathpura and Khakhal villages in the Patan district of Gujarat in April and June.
The programme, which reached out to more than 600 children, was intended to promote a health seeking behaviour among the village children. Realizing that children will be the fore bearers of change in the coming years, school health programmes have been incorporated as an integral aspect of Smile on Wheels.
A forty-five minute video on maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness was shown. To assess the students’ understanding about the topics highlighted during the show, essay writing and drawing competitions were conducted, followed by the winners being awarded with prizes.
The awareness programme was brought to an end by an interactive session during which the Smile on Wheels doctor discussed vital health issues like immunization, routine hygienic activities, common diseases and sanitation with the children.
Smile on Wheels project operational in North and East Delhi has expanded its reach to cover school children through Chacha Nehru Sehat Yojana (CNSY), a Govt. of Delhi programme.
St. Stephen’s Hospital is the implementing partner of the SoW which takes healthcare services to the doorsteps of the underserved population in North and North-East Delhi.
Eight schools from the North East district of Delhi have been added to the service coverage of Smile on Wheels after this association.
IEC sessions, clinical services, health check-ups, investigations, child to child health skills training, counseling and health talks are being introduced during the school health programme. More than 5000 students have benefitted under the project so far.
Aspecial gynaecology camp was organized in Runi and Indramana villages in Patan district, Gujarat.
Smile on Wheels is operational in the area. It was observed that visits of pregnant women from two of the villages were negligible. It was a matter of concern as one of the goals of Smile on Wheels is to provide ante natal and post natal services.
The project team conducted a survey in these villages and also collected data from local government nursing staff and Anganwadi workers, to analyze the situation and found out that there were 30 pregnant women in Runi and 40 in Indramana village. However, they were reluctant to avail the health services at the mobile hospital as they were not comfortable discussing about their health issues with outsiders. An exclusive oneon- one session with a gynaecologist was conducted.
A special health camp was organized on June 21, 2013 for Padarkhedi and ladpura villages in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh.
Dr. Sadhana Verma, Block Medical Officer, Mr. Rituraj Bhargava, Malaria Inspector and Mr. Anil Shukla, ICDS worker participated in the camp.
The camp was facilitated by two general physicians. The most common ailments noticed were viral fever, eye flu, common cold, malaria and malnourishment in children.
A total of 212 beneficiaries were reached through the health camp, out of which more than half were children. As many as 116 women turned up to avail of the health services too.
An employee engagement session was conducted on May 28 at Arunodaya Trust, STeP centre in Hyderabad. Ms. Chitra Devaraj, a Recruitment specialist from Google, visited the centre and had an interactive session with the beneficiaries regarding the training programme and its benefits.
The main objective of the visit was to inculcate life skill qualities like readiness, decision making, and general awareness in the STeP students apart from their regular curriculum. During the interaction, Ms. Chitra stressed on the importance of computer and English in today’s world. She also briefed the students on how soft skills help one grow personally as well as professionally.
The discussion was followed by a mock session where all the students participated enthusiastically. An important point raised during the session was that one need not restrict oneself at any position and can climb up the professional ladder through hard work and constant learning.
Swabhiman, Smile Foundation’s national programme on girl child and women empowerment, has come to Karnataka. Swabhiman, meaning self respect in English, was formally introduced in Hegganahalli and Ramanna Badavane settlements in Bangalore in July.
The focus of the project in Bangalore is on the reproductive and sexual health of adolescent girls and young women. It aims to benefit more than 10,000 women. Swabhiman works on the ‘4-S Model’, which is an acronym for four novel approaches – Seeking Healthcare as a Behaviour, Support for Education, Supporters in Men through Male Involvement, and Sustaining the Change in Communities.
Swabhiman in Bangalore is being supported by Shankara Infrastructure Materials Limited. DANI Development and Social Action is partnering in implementing the project.
A three-day workshop was conducted on ‘Healthy Eating and Nutrition’ for young girls and women in three Swabhiman communities spreadacross south and east Delhi. The workshop, held from June 27-29, was intended to make the beneficiaries aware about the right eating habits during different stages of a woman’s life.
Discussion were held on several issues vital to a woman’s health like diabetes mellitus, hypertension during pregnancy, teen pregnancy, benefits of vegetarian diets, and importance of nutrition for adolescent girls, healthy diet for a lactating mother and proper iron and calcium intake.
The beneficiaries came up with enthusiastic questions, followed by group presentations during which they confidently explained the issues discussed during the workshop.
Smile Foundation took active participation in the statelevel Swasthya Chetna Yatra (Health Awareness March) in Bihar. The initiative was supported by State Health Society Bihar.
The objective of the programme was to provide health facilities in the most backward areas in remote districts where people do not have access to healthcare services due to nonavailability of adequate government health infrastructure.
Health camps were conducted across the state, as a part of the initiative. During one such camp, organized at Anganwadi Kendra, Balam Gadhiya Panchayat, in Madhepura, Smile Foundation aligned its Smile on Wheels mobile hospital with the project by facilitating specialized lab tests.
The camp was inaugurated by the Panchayat head Mr. Chandan Kumar Yadav and In-charge of Murho PHC Dr. Sachidanand Ghan.
U TSAH centre, under Mission Education programme, works with children living in the slum area of Hafiznagar No.2 in Guwahati, Assam. It has now developed into a fullyfunctional Child Protection Centre. The Child Protection Programme is a step bystep comprehensive module developed by UTSAH to better the conditions of and create a protective net for vulnerable children living in unorganised slum areas of Guwahati, by engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
The centre currently acts as a one-stop reporting, referral and capacity building unit for the protection of over 150 children living in the Hafiznagar community. It covers areas of intervention like child abuse, exploitation, women and child health, child labour and children in difficult circumstances.
Mainstreaming of all the children into a non-formal education set-up, Jyoti Kendras or formal schools, with the support of Smile Foundation is an important agenda of the Child Protection Centre. So far, 33 children have been rescued from the clutches of child labour and enrolled at the Mission Education centre.
Some 760 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Supervisors got advanced training on antenatal and postnatal care, besides how to engage the community effectively in Barmer district in Rajasthan.
Both the 2-day workshops also included measures to prevent child marriage and practice of evil customs among others.
Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are community health workers instituted by the government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
World Health Day was commemorated at the Government Polytechnic College, Raghogarh in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. An awareness campaign on the theme ‘Hypertension – Symptoms and Risk factors associated with the lifestyle disease’ was organised.
Around 200 students from the Mission Education centre in Padarkhedi village and students from Polytechnic College participated in the event.
Area health officials such as Mr. Anil Shukla (Malaria Inspector) and Mr. Purushottam Puri (Vice-President, Municipality), Mr. Daheriya (Principal, Polytechnic College) and Mr. Jawaharlal Dwivedi (Principal, Government P.G. College, Raghogarh) attended the session.
Children, already in school, were on an awareness drive in the villages of Ahmadapura and Padarkhedi of Guna district in Madhya Pradesh. They convinced parents to send all the children to Mission Education centres.
More than 200 children and teachers participated in the drive which was designed by them. Children used many slogans such as ‘chale school chale hum’ and explained villagers how education would make the next generation informed, empowered and prosperous.
The integrated education and healthcare programme of Smile Foundation in Guna district is supported by GAIL.
Smile Foundation sensitizes the civil society regularly and involves them in the process of development locally. The aim is to make them equal partners in grassroots projects in order to achieve accountability as well as to sustain the projects locally in the long run.
With the same objective, ‘Mohammad Rafi Night’ was organized in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. Local youth participated in three levels of competitions to sing the legendary Bollywood playback singer’s songs.
Prominent singers from across Chhattisgarh such as Girish Tiwari, Raja Khan, Tarun Sharma, Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumbat and Asfaq Varma et al also enthralled the audience.
More than 1000 music lovers came to the event held at Raghavendra Rao Sabha Bhavan which began at 8 PM and culminated at 2:30 AM. Two of Smile Foundation’s local Mission Education projects namely Sikhar Yuba Manch and Mitwa benefitted from the endeavour. As many as 250 children are getting education at the two centres.
Children in Mission Education programme centre ‘Samvedana’ in Ahmedabad, Gujarat will avail of innovative learning methods through CAMI Education from this session. CAMI Education is educational software developed by CAMI, a reputed Australian firm, which focuses on enhancing the methodological, linguistic and perceptual skills of children.
Students from grade third to ninth will benefit from the new learning technique. The teachers from the project have completed an introduction session on CAMI for introducing the curriculum as a pilot phase, benefiting a minimum of 300 children.
“CAMI Education is very innovative and our kids are going to find it interesting.
Aspecialized eye check-up camp was organized at Air Force Station, Barmer on the request of Air Force Officers on World Health Day. Around 270 people from the community, including Air Force officials, availed of the health services at the camp.
The chief guest at the health camp was Air Commodore A. Dixit VM, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Utarlai, followed by Mrs. Archana Dixit, President AFWWA (L), Air Force Station Utarlai, Wing Commander Kavita Bhatnagar, SMO, Air Force Station, Utarlai and Mr. Suman Talukadar, Assistant Manager, CSR, Cairn India.
A puppet show highlighting vital health and social issues was also conducted as part of the programme, to sensitize the community on the importance of health and hygiene and promote health-seeking behaviour. An additional 300 beneficiaries were reached through the awareness programme.
On World Environment Day, a year-long campaign known as ‘Clean Barmer Green Barmer’ was initiated in Barmer district, Rajasthan. Besides Smile Foundation and CAIRN India, many governmental and non-governmental agencies including Department of Forests, Help Age India, Dhara Sansthan and Nagar Parishad are also part of this initiative.
Saplings were distributed and various awareness activities were conducted on the occasion. Mr. Alok Shrivastava, Commissioner Nagar Parishad; Shri Ved Prakash Gurjar, Deputy Conservator of Forests; Ms. Shamma Bano, Chouhtan Pradhan; Mr. Jitendra Singh, Chief Medical and Health Officer, Barmer; Mr. Mahesh Iyer, Senior Manager, CAIRN India among others took active participation in the campaign.
Every family in the region pledged to plant at least one tree in the name of their loved ones.
Only when the mother is healthy, children will go to school and study well. With this belief, an awareness programme on immunization and best healthcare practices was organized by Mission Education Programme’s UTSAH centre in Assam. East Guwahati State Dispensary and Department of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Assam supported the drive which was carried out on June 7.
The drive was designed especially for the benefit of women and children living in Hafiznagar No. 2 Slum area at Bamunimaidan in Guwahati. Buluma Saikia, Chief Medical Supervisor of the East Guwahati State Dispensary, facilitated the programme and discussed issues like antenatal and postnatal care, nutrition for adolescent girls and women, importance of the use of sanitary pads, women and child hygiene and immunization against diseases like Hepatitis B, OPV, DTP and MMR with the beneficiaries.
Sixty working women from the slum area and 75 children of the Mission Education Centre were included in the intensive awareness programme.
Health camps were organized for the underprivileged community of Bhalswa re-settlement colony, Delhi, and Murga Farm, DLF Phase III, Gurgaon, in association with BlackRock Gives (philanthropic arm of BlackRock Inc.), on June 15.
The re-settlement colony of Bhalswa was set up in year 2000 with families from Jehangirpuri, Rohini and Nizamuddin. Majority of the population are rickshaw pullers, small hawkers, ragpickers, daily wage labours and domestic workers. Murga Farm, on the other hand, comprises migrant population from Bangladesh. There are around 300 families with a population of 1000. Majority of people living here are illiterate and into unorganised labour. Men work as rag pickers and women are domestic maids.
Through these two camps, curative services were rendered to 477 patients, comprising 187 children, by a panel comprising of a gynaecologist, paediatrician and a general physician. Most of the cases pertained to respiratory and urinary infection, ENT problems, RTI, anaemia, stomach problems, injuries, allergy, and gastric issues.