Smile Foundation Believes That Education Is Both The Means As Well As The End To A Better Life

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Brief Us About The Successful Journey Of Smile Foundation And Its Mission?

Smile Foundation’s mission is to empower underprivileged children, youth, and women through relevant education, innovative healthcare, and market-focused livelihood programs. We believe that unless members of the civil society are involved proactively in the process of development, sustainable change will not happen. Believing in this principle of ‘Civic Driven Change’, the Foundation sensitizes the civil society to make them partners in its mission.

As a national level development organization benefitting over 400,000 underprivileged children, their families and the community directly through more than 250 welfare projects on subjects such as education, healthcare, livelihood, and women empowerment across 25 states of India. Along with our work at the grassroots, we have been making consistent efforts to sensitize and involve corporate, local government bodies, and the larger civil society in the process of bringing sustainable change. In a journey of over 15 years, we have directly impacted the lives of more than 1.5 million children and their families. This has only been possible through meaningful collaboration and positive partnerships.

How Do You Help Companies With CSR And Sustainability? What Is Your Public Reach Through It?

Most of our programs are supported by corporate partners and as we know that all companies want to see the measurable and sustainable impact of the money they give to support projects. Corporates want to “own” or adopt an issue and want to put a name to the efforts they are espousing so that they can tell their stories. Most companies need their partnerships to reflect their value systems and a sustainable framework has that potential to accomplish that at a deeper and strategic level. Sustainability is integral to our company’s business and culture. Over the years, many prominent corporates, development agencies, donor organizations, confederations, associations, and institutions across the globe have joined hands with Smile Foundation and strengthened its welfare programs.

As You Are Leader Of Various Projects In Child Education, How According To You It Is Serving The Community?

Ever since the inception of Smile Foundation in 2002, we have made education our mission and it is our effort to put every child in school. As a part of our flagship program, Mission Education, Smile Foundation identifies out-of-school children from remote villages, tribal areas, and urban slums, providing them quality education. In addition to this, it also looks after their health, nutrition, and holistic development through participation in co-curricular activities.

In the year 2019, 32,000 children across 23 states of India were directly provided education through 240 Mission Education projects.

What Are The Challenges You Are Facing To Implement Your Social Projects?

Most of our social projects like Smile on Wheels, Mission Education, Swabhiman Programme, initiative have been designed keeping in mind the demographics of the people we intend to serve. Lack of awareness, trouble in collaborating with government agencies and ignorance of the part of rural people, lack of volunteer mobilization are some of the challenges that the team faces while execution of projects on-ground

Would You Like To Share Any Motivational Story Of Your Foundation?

All our beneficiaries have a unique story to share. To take a very recent example, the migrant population returning to their homes in Jharkhand from other states like Gujarat and Telangana, are bringing with them a higher than ever risk of COVID19 infection. Conducting our OPDs in villages that are home to migrant laborers, we are screening all the patients using the thermal scanner, and referring many presumptive cases carrying close symptoms for further tests. We are helping them in every way possible…be it teaching them how to use the Arogya Setu app to taking all the precautionary measures and keeping a strong immune system, our duty is to help the authorities minimize COVID19 cases in Jharkhand as fast as possible.

What Do You Think CSR Should Be A Mandate Or Voluntary Activity And Why?

While voluntary CSR is connected to convictions and commitment, it’s something that is embedded in the foundation of a company, with a desire to change things and create value. Mandatory CSR is imposed from outside the company and it may not be perceived as own. Currently, the Indian Government has kept CSR contribution voluntary for companies but its reporting has been made mandatory. I believe that CSR should not be mandated, philanthropic organizations should be allowed to operate exercise their own discretion on the extent of their contribution and

Any Information That You Would Like To Share With Our Readers?

The ongoing, COVID-19 pandemic has opened whole new challenges to the entire world. Smile has reached out to 40,000 families across 14 states in the course of lockdown to provide psychological counseling needs through tele-calling.

We are constantly guiding and training our health teams to deliver primary health needs to the underserved community by way of tele-counseling. Safety for one and all is our priority. Trained counselors, doctors, nurses from Smile on Wheels will be making make several thousand calls to all beneficiaries within our network and partner organizations to ease out their angst caused by the spread of the deadly corona-virus which has killed more than 300 people and infected upwards of 9000 people across India.

Additionally, Smile Foundation, in a campaign supported by India Today Group, will be showcasing a series of capsules from across India, highlighting stories of hope and courage of people who have been severely affected by the lockdown. This 10-part series that will air on India Today Television hopes to encourage the news audiences and affluent strata of the society to positively contribute towards ration distribution through Smile Foundation’s campaign ‘India Shares.’

Throw Some Light On Your Future Initiatives

“During the last 15 years we must have worked with more than 12 disasters and every time we have reached out to the ones in need. This is something far bigger than anything that has happened in the past, and our strength that is community reach has become our weakness in this scenario as being physically present on the ground is challenging,” says Mr. Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee

“Through our collaboration with the India Today Group, our aim is to reach our goal of providing dry ration kits to 1.5 lakh families across 15 states. Since the onset of this pandemic, we have taken every possible measure to ensure that people severely affected by this lockdown are catered to. Not only have we worked on distributing ration and sanitary needs but also looked at providing tele-counseling and tele-consulting, as we are using an integrated approach to reach out to all our beneficiaries”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent those of Diggaj Media. The pictures are provided by the author and is not authorized to be used by anyone else.

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