Stories Of Change

RANI

Five-year-old Rani lives with her family of six in Sukhraili Village, Gurugram. Her mother is the sole bread winner in the family and works in a private company in Gurugram. During the pandemic, Rani suffered a serious injury on her right foot and was unable to walk properly.

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HARYANA

GAURAV

"When I took him to the doctor his scalp looked scary, now he has recovered and is so happy." When Rita and Sandeep had Gaurav six months back the condition of their family was bad. Gaurav’s elder sister was down with a bout of viral fever. Being daily wage earners it became very difficult for them to bear so much expenses.

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KALAHANDI, ODISHA

TRIBAL COMMUNITY

When a lot of children and adults began to fall sick at regular intervals the tribal community at Kalahandi, Odisha the people did not know who to turn to. Their regular visits to the local quacks increased but they could hardly provide any relief to the people.

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GURGAON, HARYANA

KRISHNA DEVI

"Recently, I have been asked to earn for myself as nobody among my children could afford to feed me two times a day.” Krishna Devi sells papad on the roadside. She earns 100-150 per day...

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MADHEPURA, BIHAR

SOBHA DEVI

Sobha Devi lives with her two sons in Mithaj village, Madhepura, Bihar. Her husband migrated to Kerala in search of work six years ago and sends whatever little he earns home every month.

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YASH

Five year old Yash lives with his family in the JJ Colony of Noida's Sector 9. His father Sispal is a mechanic by profession and earns just enough to sustain their family. Yash was diagnosed with burns last year. He wasn’t keeping well for a long time and needed urgent medical attention...

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TELANGANA

MAHESH

"Our children always complained that we did not do enough for them and then they left us in our old age."Mahesh and his wife have five daughters. They raised them with equal love and never did they regret not having a son. His children grew up, got married and moved to different places.

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CHANDERI, MP

HAJRATH BARAR

"I am recovering slowly, thanks to the doctor who cured me." When asthma and skin problem worsened, 65 year old Hajrath Barar had to discontinue his work in the nearby farms as a daily wager.

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KANDHAMAL, ODISHA

NAMITA

Namita’s daughter was the joy of her life but she was weak and malnourished, her survival became a struggle, until Smile on Wheels came to her rescue.

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GUJARAT

NEMABHAI MAKWANA

A 10 year old jovial and ambitious Thanuja was made to drop out of school by her parents. But this young girl fought to achieve what was rightfully hers.

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OLD WOMEN

“I feel terribly lonely all the time. When I go somewhere, people look at me as if they are looking at a thief. After a whole day of begging, I barely earn around 100 rupees and I feed myself. I see hatred for me in people’s eyes. I don’t have a home; and living in the street feels like a crime. Yesterday, some men in uniform asked...

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CHENNAI

SAVITHA

"We are old and poor. Our health is failing. We only find relief in each other.” 82 year old Savitha lives with her husband in a tin shanty in the middle of a congested and unhygienic Chennai slum.

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KALAHANDI, ODISHA

SAVITRI

"I raised my son alone. 12 years ago, Ravi got married and his wife did not want to live with me. They left me alone and went to the city.” Savitri faced a lot of hardships while raising her son alone after the death of her husband but she worked on daily...

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NEW DELHI

VRINDA DEVI

"We lost all our hard earned money in fighting Dengue last year. Three of my family members – my husband, daughter-in-law and grandson" The three members Vrinda Devi lost to dengue was due to the filth that surrounded them in the resettlement area they live.

KALAHANDI, ODISHA

JAMUNA

Jamuna and her granddaughter Nilima are happy and healthy now. Thanks to Smile on wheels and their timely check-ups.

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RANI

Five-year-old Rani lives with her family of six in Sukhraili Village, Gurugram. Her mother is the sole bread winner in the family and works in a private company in Gurugram.

During the pandemic, Rani suffered a serious injury on her right foot and was unable to walk properly. However, due to financial constraints she wasn’t able to go to the hospital or consult a doctor.

In the meanwhile, her family came to know about Smile on Wheels, a mobile hospital service provided by Smile Foundation to provide healthcare services to the under-privileged in rural areas and urban slums of India and decided to consult our doctors.

The team of Smile on Wheels van supported by Ericsson examined her properly and started immediate treatment. Due to quick action and adequate measures by the doctors, Rani’s injury started healing.

Rani and her family are happy and grateful that she’s finally able to walk on her own.

Gaurav, haryana

When I took him to the doctor his scalp looked scary, now he has recovered and is so happy.

When Rita and Sandeep had Gaurav six months back the condition of their family was bad. Gaurav’s elder sister was down with a bout of viral fever. Being daily wage earners it became very difficult for them to bear so much expenses. Even though Gaurav was born in a government hospital, his parents took him back home against the advice of the doctors because his sister also had to be looked after.

Soon after the baby’s scalp started to turn red and flakes began to appear on his scalp. Initially the mother did not notice but when the flakes turned heavy she began to go to a local doctor to cure her baby but he could not do much. After hearing about the Smile on Wheels, Rita took her baby to the clinic where he was prescribed an ointment. Gaurav began to recover in no time and his parents are overjoyed that he is growing up healthy and happy.

TRIBAL COMMUNITY, KALAHANDI, ODISHA

When a lot of children and adults began to fall sick at regular intervals the tribal community at Kalahandi, Odisha the people did not know who to turn to. Their regular visits to the local quacks increased but they could hardly provide any relief to the people. The residents of the area work as daily wage laborers and either cannot afford to go to a doctor or do not want to go to the doctor and lose a day’s wage. These kinds of health problems have been a common problem in the area because of unhygienic lifestyles and continuous neglect of minor health problems.

When the Smile on Wheels services started in the area it bought relief to 42 of the remotest of villages in Kalahandi. Launched in June 2015, the project has already benefitted a population of over 20,000 people. Various sensitization programs to spread awareness about health related issues are conducted regularly. Volunteers and ground staff pay door to door visits to create awareness about the benefits of availing a qualified doctor’s advice in case of an ailment.

KRISHNA DEVI, GURGAON, HARYANA

Recently, I have been asked to earn for myself as nobody among my children could afford to feed me two times a day

Krishna Devi sells papad on the roadside. She earns 100-150 per day which is sufficient for her to feed herself and sometimes buy sweets for her grandchildren. Krishna’s wrinkled face and toothless smile does not give away her pain that she has to go through every day; her children refused to support her anymore and asked her to earn and live on her own. She also faces health issues related to old age.

When the Smile on Wheels volunteer came to know about Krishna she immediately visited her and told her about the regular visits of the Smile on wheels mobile hospital and the services provided. Krishna Devi was overjoyed because now she could avail healthcare at her door step and avoid losing a day’s earning.

Krishna Devi’s health care is now being taken care of by team Smile ion Wheels along with many like her.

NEMABHAI MAKWANA, GUJARAT

Forty-five years old Nemabhai Makwana from Shinad village in Patan district, Gujarat, has been living with polio since birth. Because of his disability, he is completely dependent on his parents.

Nemabhai’s aging father, a small-time farmer, is the sole provider of the family. Life is not easy when one has to deal with both disability and poverty. A minor ailment seems like a big battle. The nearest government hospital is a journey across seven seas, literally.

Smile on Wheels came as a hope at the doorstep of people like Nemabhai, when it was introduced in 20 villages in Patan, with support from Cairn India.

Nemabhai had been going through severe chest pain for quite some time, when Smile on Wheels came to his aid. After the diagnosis, treatment began immediately and follow-ups were conducted twice a week.

After two months, Nemabhai is now as full of life as he has been known for.

As if he has conquered immobility, Nemabhai now mobilizes villagers and brings them to Smile on Wheels every week when the mobile hospital pays the routine visit to his village.

yash

Five year old Yash lives with his family in the JJ Colony of Noida’s Sector 9. His father Sispal is a mechanic by profession and earns just enough to sustain their family.

Yash was diagnosed with burns last year. He wasn’t keeping well for a long time and needed urgent medical attention in the middle of the pandemic. Due to financial constraints, his family could not take him to a private hospital. Meanwhile government hospitals were full because of COVID patients.

During a regular visit of the Smile on Wheels van supported by Ericsson in his area, Yash visited the MMU and was diagnosed with burns. Smile on Wheels is a mobile hospital service provided by Smile Foundation to provide healthcare services to the under-privileged in rural areas and urban slums of India.

The doctors at Smile on Wheels prescribed proper medication to him and counseled his parents on how to take care of him. Due to correct treatment and care from his family, his condition started improving.

Yash and his family are grateful to Smile on Wheels team for saving his life during the pandemic.

Mahesh, Telangana

Our children always complained that we did not do enough for them and then they left us in our old age.

Mahesh and his wife have five daughters. They raised them with equal love and never did they regret not having a son. His children grew up, got married and moved to different places. They began blaming their parents for not providing enough for them and slowly over time stopped coming to see them altogether. Both Mahesh and his wife began to suffer from old age related problems and even when their mother was on her death bed none of the children came.

Mahesh’s health too started to suffer after the demise of his wife and with no one to care for him he became weaker. It was during one of the community counseling sessions that Mahesh came to know about Smile on Wheels clinic and began to attend it regularly. His health has improved and he also talks to the volunteers and jokes around with them. He tries to keep happy and healthy like the doctor asked him to.

HAJRATH BARAR, CHANDERI, MP

I am recovering slowly, thanks to the doctor who cured me.”

When asthma and skin problem worsened, 65 year old Hajrath Barar had to discontinue his work in the nearby farms as a daily wager. Hajrath was bound to stay at home, causing his wife to work in the fields to fulfill the basic household needs.

Due to lack of access to medical facilities in the village, the residents had to travel around 12 km to reach the nearest Community Health Centre (CHC) in Chanderi when they suffered health problems. People like Hajrath avoided this, because they could not afford to lose a day’s wage.

Hajrath’s problems were identified by Dr. R K Sharma, who heads the project team of Smile on Wheels clinic in Ashok Nagar. Under his prescription, effective tablets and ointments were provided to him, and after 15 days Hajrath’s health started improving. Hajrath Barar has now recommenced his work in the farms. He continues to take his medicines for asthma and also takes part in mobilising other villagers in seeking healthcare from the Smile on Wheels.

SOBHA DEVI, MADHEPURA, BIHAR

Sobha Devi lives with her two sons in Mithaj village, Madhepura, Bihar. Her husband migrated to Kerala in search of work six years ago and sends whatever little he earns home every month.

Sobha works as a daily wager in nearby fields. After some time Sobha started suffering from severe pain in her breast. At first she ignored it. Going to the hospital would cost money and loss of a day’s wages.

The temporary relief provided by pain killers helped her carry on, but her ailment became worse, inching towards a point of no return. Smile on Wheels began operations in her village in this hour of dire need. The doctor’s checkup revealed a lump in her breast and medication was immediately prescribed.

In three months the lump disappeared and so did the pain. Unwilling to take any chances, the SoW team referred Sobha to the Government hospital to check for malignancy which thankfully came negative.

JAMUNA, KALAHANDI, ODISHA

Jamuna and her granddaughter Nilima are happy and healthy now. Thanks to Smile on wheels and their timely check-ups.

I have passed seventy years of my age without any wish, but now I have one – to be alive for some more years to continue fighting for my granddaughter, Nilima’s happiness. All I have today in my world is her. To me, she is nothing less than a beautiful and lovely doll bringing a lot of happiness in my life. Nilima’s parents are no more. Although her childhood isn’t about balloons or toys, it isn’t about suffering either. There were days when I stayed hungry, but never kept Nilima empty stomach. I never let her stay off my eyes. That’s why I bring her with me to my workplace where I get daily wages because if I leave her at home there will be no one to look after her.

Jamuna’s and Nilima’s health is being taken care of by the Smile on wheels mobile hospital clinic. Timely check-ups, counseling on proper diets and awareness about curable diseases helps Jamuna and Nilima be healthy.

old women

“I feel terribly lonely all the time. When I go somewhere, people look at me as if they are looking at a thief. After a whole day of begging, I barely earn around 100 rupees and I feed myself. I see hatred for me in people’s eyes. I don’t have a home; and living in the street feels like a crime. Yesterday, some men in uniform asked me to open my bag and show what I was carrying. I told them I am a poor old woman and I haven’t stolen anything from anybody. They flung my bag in the middle of the street, and my husband’s clothes fell on the ground. My husband died six years ago, and I have a few clothes of him as his last and only memory. I live with them and I talk to them. I felt humiliated as I picked those clothes and put them back into my bag.

Today, when I woke up in the morning on a roadside, I saw a young lady sitting close to me. She asked me if I wanted to have some food. I got very afraid. Nobody has talked like that with me for so many years. She held my hand and took me to a bus where many poor people like me were being offered free healthcare and medicines. The girl offered me food from her tiffin, and then she took me to the doctor for my check up. I felt so different. I felt so loved by these young children, who promised to visit me every week. I was unable to thank her when she was handing me medicines, because I was speechless in gratitude. Tears rolled down my eyes and I wanted to hide that from her. I am going to share all of these with my husband and tell him that I have a new family now. I am sure; wherever his soul is – he will feel very happy about me.”

Savitha, Chennai

We are old and poor. Our health is failing. We only find relief in each other.

82 year old Savitha lives with her husband in a tin shanty in the middle of a congested and unhygienic Chennai slum. When their children refused to take care of them they had no option but to suffer silently. There was no one who could provide them warmth. Her husband is slowly losing his eye sight and both husband and wife are suffering from many other health problems due to their age. The families in slums like these do not have time to care for diseases or even if they do they do not have a choice because they have to earn their daily bread and look after their families. Most people in these slums suffer in silence, often losing their lives to curable diseases.

It was through her friends that Mission Education Program of Smile Foundation came to know about Purnima and her brothers. After much discussions and talks with her grandparents Purnima was finally admitted at the centre. She currently studies in class 6, her brother Shubh is in class 3 and another of her brother Som will come to class 1. Very soon their hard work and dreams are going to bear fruit and they are going to be successful.

SAVITRI, KALAHANDI, ODISHA

I raised my son alone. 12 years ago, Ravi got married and his wife did not want to live with me. They left me alone and went to the city.

Savitri faced a lot of hardships while raising her son alone after the death of her husband but she worked on daily wage and in the fields and did not let her son face any hardships. Her son grew up and got married and migrated to the city in search for a better livelihood. They left Savitri alone and when she fell sick she had no one to look after her and the doctor was miles away.

When the Smile on wheels started services in the area Savitri found much needed relief. She was visited by the doctors at home and necessary medicines were prescribed. The community volunteers keep a check on her health regularly and the regular visit of the Smile on Wheels mobile hospital has ensured that Savitri remains healthy. She still misses her son but is now healthy and happy.

HAJRATH BARAR, CHANDERI, MP

I am recovering slowly, thanks to the doctor who cured me.”

When asthma and skin problem worsened, 65 year old Hajrath Barar had to discontinue his work in the nearby farms as a daily wager. Hajrath was bound to stay at home, causing his wife to work in the fields to fulfill the basic household needs.

Due to lack of access to medical facilities in the village, the residents had to travel around 12 km to reach the nearest Community Health Centre (CHC) in Chanderi when they suffered health problems. People like Hajrath avoided this, because they could not afford to lose a day’s wage.

Hajrath’s problems were identified by Dr. R K Sharma, who heads the project team of Smile on Wheels clinic in Ashok Nagar. Under his prescription, effective tablets and ointments were provided to him, and after 15 days Hajrath’s health started improving. Hajrath Barar has now recommenced his work in the farms. He continues to take his medicines for asthma and also takes part in mobilising other villagers in seeking healthcare from the Smile on Wheels.