2020 has been a year that will be etched in our memories for a very long time to come. It has been a difficult year, millions of people have been affected around the globe, whole nations have been impacted, public health systems have suffered, economies have collapsed. But in these dark times, humanity has glowed as a bright beacon, bringing light and hope amid crisis. Stories of resilience, of courage, of ordinary people going out of their way to help the worst affected have resonated across the world and been the silver lining to the pandemic.
From this perspective, I feel 2020 has been a year of learning, of evolving, of empathy and compassion. And as we step into the New Year, with our hearts full of hope that this year would be better than the last one, I think it would not be wrong to call 2021 as the Hope Year! The year that promises us solutions and possibilities – the vaccine coming out, children being able to go to school, businesses flourishing once again, new livelihood opportunities opening up, economies thriving and nations back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
At Smile, we feel fortunate to have been able to reach out to the most vulnerable children and families with essential services catering to their basic needs like food, education, healthcare and livelihood. With the help of responsible corporate and individuals this year, we have been able to distribute over 25 million meals to the worst affected families, provide primary healthcare services to more than 1 million people at their doorsteps through our mobile hospital programme and telemedicine initiative, counseled over 40,000 people through our telecounselling service, provided education through a blended learning model to nearly 50,000 children and provided relevant skill-based training for securing livelihood in the new normal world to 10,000 slum youth. Women and girl children were at the centre of all our interventions, as always.
I am grateful to you for undertaking this journey with us. It was not an easy year for anyone, there are still many loose ends, many unanswered questions, many unresolved issues. It will take time and dedication to move forward, take up the challenges and start solving them, and we will need more support than ever from our patrons this year. 2021 cannot be the Hope Year unless we work together to make it so. Let us keep spreading smiles!