Addressing a stakeholder meeting of Swabhiman at Bismil Camp in Shashi Garden (East Delhi) recently, Mr. Anil Kumar Chaudhary, MLA, Patparganj, thanked Smile Foundation on behalf of his government, for its development activities for the welfare of underprivileged people in the national capital region.
Mr. Chaudhary commended the activities of Smile Foundation’s Swabhiman programme for the empowerment of women and girl children in the area. He said, “Smile Foundation is one of the reputed national level organisations working for the well-being of underprivileged women and girl children, through activities like scholarship programme, counselling sessions, workshops, and street plays for gender sensitisation and community mobilisation.”
The meeting was conducted by Swabhiman in association with local partner ADHAAR on January 23, 2013, to orient the stakeholders on the progress made under the programme and also to provide a platform for the community members to interact with the stakeholders and put forth their views. The meeting was attended by NSIC official Mukul Lall, Swabhiman officials Nitasha Agarwal and Anil Kumar from Smile Foundation, Mr. Arun Kumar Tandon and team from ADHAAR, Ms. Sherry Gomes from Sur Nirman (CBO), Mr. R. K. Jain from Times of India. Around 150 people from the community, including workers of National Rural Health Mission and Integrated Child Development Services, participated in the event.
The event commenced with an address to the community members by the chief functionary of ADHAAR, Arun Kumar, who spoke about his organisation’s work in the area in partnership with Smile Foundation. He thanked both Smile Foundation and project sponsors NSIC for providing them an opportunity to work towards empowerment of girl children and women.
Mr Lall spoke at length about NSIC and its CSR activities and stressed on the importance of Swabhiman, with reference to some of its activities like workshops, counseling sessions for adolescents and women, information and behaviour change communication activities, etc.
Ms. Agarwal, Chief Manager, Programmes, Smile Foundation, began with a brief introduction of Smile Foundation & its key areas of intervention. Focusing on Swabhiman, she spoke about the programme’s ‘life cycle approach’ where Smile Foundation works right at the root level on female foeticide, to the complete empowerment of a woman by catering to her education, building her capacities and equipping her with life skills.
Scholarships were also presented to various beneficiaries on the occasion. Distributing the scholarships, Mr. Choudhary said financial support was one of the best initiatives of the programme. Ms. Agarwal added that scholarship was a great motivator as most of these children come from financially unstable backgrounds.
A street play was performed by Swabhiman’s health volunteers on maternal and child health, that covered vital issues like the early registration of pregnancy, complete ANC, institutional deliveries and post-natal check-ups. The play also highlighted the issue of male participation and involvement in the area of gender health.
A counseling session was also organised for adolescent girls on reproductive and sexual health, covering various issues like RTI, STI, HIV/AIDS, menstrual hygiene, etc. Resource materials were further distributed among the beneficiaries.
The event concluded with an interactive session between the area MLA, NSIC officials and community members to explore the scope for more interactions between them and also for carrying out successful community interventions in the area.