Smile Foundation is a national level development organisation directly benefitting over 300,000 children and their families every year, through 158 welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment, in more than 700 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India.
Children, their families and the community become the target group for Smile Foundation’s activities as child education cannot be done in isolation and nothing else but education for children can bring long lasting change in the society.
Education is both the means as well as the end to a better life: the means because it empowers an individual to earn his/her livelihood and the end because it increases one's awareness on a range of issues – from healthcare to appropriate social behaviour to understanding one's rights – and in the process help him/her evolve as a better citizen.
Doubtless, education is the most powerful catalyst for social transformation. But child education cannot be done in isolation. A child will go to school only if the family, particularly the mother, is assured of healthcare and empowered. Moreover, when an elder sibling is relevantly skilled to be employable and begins earning, the journey of empowerment continues beyond the present generation.
Realizing this, Smile Foundation, beginning in the corridors of education, adopted a lifecycle approach of development, focusing its interventions on children, their families and the larger community.
Smile Foundation believes that unless members of the civil society are involved proactively in the process of development, sustainable change will not happen. Following this model of Civic Driven Change, Smile Foundation sensitizes and engages the civil society, making it an active partner in all its welfare initiatives.
Today, 8 million children in India are out of school – surrounded by poverty, illness and despair; they are fighting a daily battle for their survival. Together, we can bring hope in their lives. Together, we can bring change and make it last.
"Sustainability, social equality and the environment are now business problems.
And corporate leaders can't depend on governments to solve them ..."
- Peter Senge, Founder, Society for Organisational Learning
Inspired by Senge's philosophy, a group of young corporate professionals came together in 2002 to set up Smile Foundation to work with grassroots initiatives for effecting positive changes in the lives of underprivileged children, their families and communities.
Work as a catalyst in bringing sustainable change in the lives of underprivileged children, youth and women, with a life-cycle approach of development.
Enable the civil society across the world to engage proactively in the change process through the philosophy of civic driven change.
Adopt highest standards of governance to emerge as a leading knowledge and technology driven, innovative and scalable international development organisation.
Smile Foundation is to
empower underprivileged children, youth and women through relevant education, innovative healthcare and market-focused livelihood programmes.
Smile Foundation is to deploy best possible methodology and technology for achieving ideal SROI (social return on investment), to practice and promote good governance. To link business competitiveness of the corporate with social development initiatives; also to sensitize privileged children, youth and citizens in general to promote Civic Driven Change.
Smile Foundation believes 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’, Smile Foundation sensitises the civil society in order to make them partners in its mission.
Children are the future of a nation. For an emerging country like India, development of underprivileged children holds the key to the progress of the nation itself, and their education is the cornerstone of this progress. But education for children cannot be achieved without ensuring the welfare of the family – a child can go to school regularly only when the family, particularly the mother is healthy and empowered; the family has decent livelihood opportunities and a steady income.
Realizing this, Smile Foundation, beginning in the corridors of education, has adopted a lifecycle approach with intensive programmes focused on family health, livelihood and women empowerment, which address the needs of children, their families and the larger community.
Addressing the areas of education of children, healthcare to the poor, livelihood for the youth and empowerment for women, Smile Foundation has evolved as an Education NGO, Livelihood NGO, Medical NGO, as well as NGO for Women Empowerment.
Mission Education is a national level programme of Smile Foundation, which is committed to providing basic education and healthcare to underprivileged children.
Smile Foundation believes that whether you are addressing healthcare, poverty, population control, unemployment or human rights, there's no better place to start than in the corridors of education.
Education is both the means as well as the end to a better life; means, because it empowers an individual to earn his/her livelihood and the end because it increases one's awareness on a range of issues – from healthcare to appropriate social behavior to understanding one's rights, and in the process evolve as a better citizen.
Smile Foundation’s educational initiatives include Pre-school [3-6 yrs], Non Formal Education [6-14 yrs non-school going], Remedial Education [6-14 yrs school going] and Bridge Course [14-18 yrs drop-outs].
Smile Foundation works for education for needy children who are under difficult circumstances, such as child labour, children of poorest of the parents, children inflicted and affected with HIV/AIDS, street and runaway children, children with rare disabilities, disaster struck children and slum children. Special emphasis is given on girl education and women education, so that they and their families get empowered.
Children are the future of a nation. For an emerging and developing country like India, child education holds the key to the progress of the nation itself.
Since its inception in 2002, more than 200,000 children have directly benefitted from our Education NGO programme. At present, this flagship initiative of Smile Foundation is reaching out to 19,000 children directly through 90 projects in 25 states across India.
“He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything” – Arabic proverb
India has made rapid strides in the health sector since independence. However, various eye opening data from NFHS clearly indicate that access to healthcare still remains a challenge.
While the health statistics of rural India continue to be poor, the health status and access to health for the poor in urban slum dwellers has surfaced to be equally deplorable. Despite accounting for 1/4th of the country’s poor population, urban areas have less than 4% of government primary health care facilities.
Urban slum dwellers suffer from adverse health conditions owing to mainly two reasons –first the lack of education and thus lack of awareness; and second the unwillingness to lose a day’s wage in order to reach the nearest medical facility. Health for underprivileged, which is a desperate need, thus remains unaddressed. As a result, cases of poor women health, malnourishment in children and deaths from preventable diseases from such areas are always high.
The neglect in even the simplest preventive medical treatment usually leads to a more serious ailment and eventually into deaths. The need of the hour is thus a two pronged approach – first to bring quality health care services to doorsteps of the needy and second to promote healthcare awareness and contemporary health care seeking behavior among the underprivileged.
In such a scenario a mobile health care services delivery system is the most practical mechanism. And in subscription to this view, Smile Foundation has initiated the Smile on Wheels programme. This is a unique mobile hospital programme that seeks to address problems of mobility, accessibility and availability of primary health care with a special focus on children and women, in urban slums and remote rural areas.
Fulfilling the requirement of a health NGO in India, the Smile on Wheels programme at present has 19 operational projects in 265 remote villages and urban slums across India, benefitting 231,000 lives directly in a year.
Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) evolved as a logical linkage to Mission Education, based on the need to provide employability skills to high school pass-outs and urban underprivileged youth to enhance their prospects of employment in the fast expanding retail, hospitality and service sectors.
The youth comprises over one-third of the Indian population which in turn constitutes a major part of the labour force of the country.
But according to the reports of the Financial Express “Only 15%of the young graduates passing out of colleges are employable; the rest are branded ‘unemployable’.”
It is not their lack of theoretical knowledge that causes this. Instead, it is the lack of right skills and attitude. There is thus, an increasing concern among the leading employers of the country, about the dearth of ready-to-deliver employees.
In addition, the macro perspective affirms that, it is crucial for such young energy to be channelized correctly in economic growth and nation building to elude their addition to family woes, social stress and national misery.
Smile Twin E- learning Programme (STeP) is such an initiative of Smile Foundation that aims at creating a pool of young and independent people, from the marginalized section, through skill enhancement in tandem with market requirements. It is an effort towards bridging the gap between demand and supply of skilled manpower in the fast emerging services and retail sectors of modern India.
This national level programme trains the urban underprivileged adolescent youth in English Proficiency, Basic Computer Education and Soft Skills for enhancing their prospects of employment in the fast expanding retail, hospitality and BPO sectors.
So far, more than 13,750 youth have been trained and 9850 have been placed in over 140 brands through 35 operational projects across India.
WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: Swabhiman is a programme focusing on girl children and women empowerment. The USP of Swabhiman is its innovative and highly effective approach named the ‘4-S Model’ which means Seeking Healthcare as a Behaviour, Support through Education, Support from Men through Male Involvement, and Sustaining Change in the Community.
Various studies, as well as our experience, have shown that when we help women and empower them, the whole society benefits. Their families are healthier, children go to school, income levels improve and communities become more prosperous. But unfortunately in India, far from being empowered, most women are denied even their basic rights like health, education, employment and a respectable status in society.
According to UNDP Human Development Report (2009), 88% of pregnant women (age 15-49) were found to be suffering from anaemia. India has a dangerously imbalanced sex ratio, the chief reason being female infanticides and sex-selective abortions. According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 47% of India's women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18.
Swabhiman, meaning self-respect in English, was initiated in 2005 to address these challenges through a simple yet effective approach. Functioning as an NGO for women, Smile Foundation has strategically formulated the programme to save the girl child, empower poor and support women empowerment. The programme is specifically aimed at realization of both individual and collective self-esteem and inner strength for marginalised and socially excluded women and adolescent girls through innovative community practices.
A tailor-made strategy called the ‘4 S Model’ has been developed under Swabhiman. The ‘4 S Model’ is an acronym for four novel approaches, namely Seeking Healthcare as a Behaviour, Support for Education, Supporters in Men through Male Involvement, and Sustaining the Change in Communities.
The programme identifies adolescent girls and women from the community and develops them into Change Agents, who in turn actively contribute to the community mobilization process.
So far, Swabhiman has successfully made a difference to the lives of over 150,000 underprivileged women and adolescent girls.
Smile Foundation’s Outreach programme was launched in 2009 to directly implement its development initiatives for underprivileged communities residing in remote villages as well as urban slums across the country.
Outreach has a distinctive approach. It partners with corporate bodies, PSUs and international development organisations for direct implementation of various initiatives in target locations. It differs from the Social Venture Philosophy model of Smile Foundation in which community based organisations are identified, handheld and made sustainable for implementing the projects on the ground.
The distinct approach of Outreach serves a dual purpose. On one hand, it facilitates a better understanding of the ground realities and challenges encountered in the implementation of a project. Secondly, it also assists the corporate houses, PSUs and international agencies in fulfilling their Corporate Social Responsibility mandate.
Through Outreach, Smile Foundation implements a variety of intervention projects. Education is provided to underprivileged children living in remote areas, under Mission Education. Well-equipped mobile hospital units with medical expertise, services and medicines traverse across deserts, forest tracts, hilly terrain and urban bylanes to bring affordable, accessible and accountable healthcare, under smile on Wheels programme. Besides this, Smile Health Camps, Integrated Community Development and Infrastructure Development projects ensure overall welfare.
Outreach directly works in 10 backward districts, 155 villages and 10 urban slums, reaching out to a population of over 400,000. The programme has already benefitted approximately 200,000 beneficiaries.
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Grassroots NGOs in India have been playing a crucial role in the social and economic growth of the nation, also empowering the bottom of the social and economic pyramid. However, there has always been a need for a dedicated and effective endeavour that is focused on enabling small, genuine NGOs to bring excellence in their efforts.
EMPOWERING GRASSROOTS is a national level programme focused on enabling genuine grassroots NGOs across India to bring excellence, good governance and sustainability in local areas.
Many tailor-made methods on various aspects of capacity building and empowerment such as, Effective Leadership for Development & Strengthening, 5 C Model of Building Organizational Competencies and Good Governance, involving local support for sustainability, better fund utilization, meeting the expectations of donors, good fundraising practices, communicating with the stakeholders etc. are deployed for enabling grassroots NGOs under the programme.
Smile Foundation has so far built capacities of 500 grassroots NGOs under Empowering Grassroots programme in last two years. During the year 500 more grassroots NGOs are projected to be covered under the programme. By 2015, the aim is to bring 5000 similar NGOs under the programme across India.
Children are the future of a nation. They are the best change agents, be it in the family or the community in which they live. It is therefore crucial to catch them young and inculcate in them feelings of empathy and conscience so that they grow up as responsible individuals.
Sensing this need, Smile Foundation came up with Child For Child (CFC) programme in 2006. Sensitization of privileged children and their parents, towards the existing inequalities around them, is an important objective of CFC.
Privileged children are sensitized about the deprivation and pain endured by their less privileged counterparts. CFC seeks to inculcate a conscience and value system in the children so that they grow up to become responsible citizens and change makers. Before their minds are set with age, the CFC programme tries to make them count their own blessings and understand the plight of less privileged ones. Once they start realizing the worth of the privileges they are born with, they automatically turn their thoughts towards positivity and develop the right outlook. This eventually helps them develop into not only successful but responsible individuals in life. They grow up to become significant change makers, who contribute positively to the society.
Under Child For Child programme, Smile Foundation visits various schools and conducts engaging sessions for the young minds. It sensitizes children towards various causes and let them realize their privileged status.
CFC currently reaches out to nearly one million privileged children in 900 schools spread across 417 districts of India, every year. In addition, their parents and teachers are also involved in the process. The programme has today reached out to each part of India with the exception of Lakshadweep.
ACTION FOR CHILDREN
Action for Children (AFC) is a global programme focusing on initiatives aimed at improving the welfare of children by scaling up the brand and fundraising of grassroots organisations. The programme was initiated in 2008 by Together4Change alliance, a consortium of four international organisations – Wilde Ganzen (Wild Geese), Wereldkinderen (NICWO), SOS kinderdorpen (SOS Children's Villages) and Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS) –supported by Dutch government.
Together4Change alliance is based on the concept of Civic Driven Change and gives the highest priority to change being achieved by people and society themselves. For its programme, Action for Children, organisations with a similar ideology were selected from five developing economies, namely India, Brazil, South Africa, Ghana and Kenya. Smile Foundation is the implementing partner for the programme in India.
Action for Children, being carried out by Wilde Ganzen, is based on the belief that the responsibility of social development lies not only with the government, but also requires equal participation from the privileged masses.
Smile Foundation implemented the first phase of the programme (MFS I) between 2008 and 2011. The programme is now in its second phase (MFS II) and extends till 2015.
SPECIAL SUPPORT PROGRAMME
Smile Foundation constantly strives to support and empower individuals, particularly underprivileged children enabling them to meet basic ambitions of their life and realize their potential, make informed choices, resist oppression, fight for rightful existence and facilitate new possibilities and opportunities for them.
The Foundation takes up individual cases based on their immediate needs. These individuals are then given educational support, in individual capacity, who are at risk of discontinuing their studies due to impoverished circumstances and have exhibited outstanding academic record. Individuals suffering from any critical diseases are provided support for their health; specific cases are also taken for rehabilitation wherein they are given educational support, vocational training, entrepreneurship training, counseling and provision for aids and appliances.
Support for education and health is also provided to recognize those children who have performed outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifices including bravery award winners. There are over 4,200 individual children who have been supported through this programme.
Over 4,500 individual children have already been supported.
Being a disaster-prone country, India is highly vulnerable to various types of natural calamities due to its geographical positioning. According to the National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India, more than 58.6% of the country’s landmass is prone to earthquakes and over 12% is prone to floods; close to 5,700kms out of the 7,516kms long coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; while 68% of its cultivable area is prone to droughts.
Disaster risks in India are further compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographics, socio-economic conditions, unplanned urbanization, development within high-risk zones, environmental degradation, climate change, and epidemics and pandemics. All these factors have created a situation where disasters seriously threaten the sustainable development of the country, besides innumerable lives and livelihoods.
Smile Foundation, with its welfare interventions focused on children and their families, responds to the call of humanity in times of such calamities under its Disaster Response programme. From the Kashmir earthquake in 2005 to the Uttarakhand floods in 2013, Smile Foundation has acted promptly to reach out and respond to the immediate needs of the disaster affected people, while also maintaining a sustainable approach to help them rebuild their lives by facilitating their education, healthcare and livelihood.
Some of the calamities during which Smile Foundation has initiated disaster response are the Tsunami, the Kashmir Earthquake, the Maharashtra floods, the Bihar floods and the Uttarakhand floods.
LIFECYCLE APPROACH: CHILDREN, THEIR FAMILIES AND THE COMMUNITY
Smile Foundation believes that education is both the means as well as the end to a better life: the means because it empowers an individual to earn his/her livelihood and the end because it increases one's awareness on a range of issues – from healthcare to appropriate social behaviour to understanding one's rights – and in the process help him/her evolve as a better citizen. Education is the most effective tool which helps children build a strong foundation; enabling them to free themselves from the vicious cycle of ignorance, poverty and disease.
Smile Foundation realised that Education for Children cannot be achieved without the family, particularly, unless the mother is assured of health care and empowered. Moreover, when an elder sibling is educated and relevantly skilled to be employable and begins earning, the journey of empowerment continues beyond the present generation.
Smile Foundation extended its thematic areas of intervention by supporting family health, livelihood, and women empowerment. Children, their families and the community become the target group for Smile Foundation’s activities as child education cannot be done in isolation and nothing else but education for children can bring long lasting change in the society.
Smile Foundation has evolved two working models namely, Social Venture Philanthropy (SVP) and Outreach. Depending on the necessity and circumstances, either of the models is deployed.
Social Venture Philanthropy (SVP)
Social Venture Philanthropy (SVP) is an innovative model based on the business concept of venture capital. Under SVP, Smile Foundation not only identifies & implements its develpment projects through credible CBO's (Community Based Organisations) but also, handholds and builds capacities of these organisations, focusing on achieving scalability and sustainability, creating a culture of leadership and excellence and inculcating a deep sense of accountability among them.
While working in the remote rural areas, Smile Foundation realized that many a times capacities of community based organisations (CBOs) were not adequate to meet the high expectations of large corporate social investors. Under Outreach model, Smile Foundation implements the development interventions directly as it requires intensive and professional engagement for a wider and sustained outcome.
Smile Foundation gets a first-hand experience in the nuances of development at the grassroots through its Outreach model and then implements the learning in its SVP Projects through its SVP Partners.
Credibility and accountability have always been the bench mark for Smile Foundation and are achieved through the promotion of principles of good governance in the processes and practices. Smile Foundation has a four-tier audit and evaluation mechanism to ensure impact of investment and complete transparency and accountability in utilisation of funds. This four-tier audit mechanism reviews programmes and projects, internal operations, compliance of statutory norms and conducts an external evaluation for the impact and outcome of various development programmes.
The entire management processes and practices of Smile Foundation are in compliance with the principles of good governance.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Award 2014 by ABP News
Education Excellence Award 2013 by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ASSOCHAM)
Corporate Excellence Award for NGO Excellence 2013 by IPE (Institute of Public Enterprise)
Quality Initiative Mission Award 2013
Smile Foundation is an organisation in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of United Nations since 2012
Healthcare Leadership Award 2012
Represents India as nominated member of Together4Change Alliance
GE Healthcare - Modern Medicare Excellence Award
Asia-pacific Child Rights Awards
NTR Memorial Trust Award
Barclays Bank Chairman’s Awards
I Am Kalam - 23 National and International Awards at 40 prestigious film festivals
EMPANELLMENT & ACCREDITATION
Empanelled with National CSR Hub at TISS, an initiative under Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises
Accreditation with India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians, under the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Govt. of India
Accredited as Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India validated charity since 2012
Accredited as IRD-registered non-profit organisation with Guide Star
Listed as a member organisation with United Way Worldwide
It goes without saying that the media fraternity is a very important institution in the development of the underprivileged community of the country.
The media today encompasses essentially every component of the society. And in a way, that it is nearly impossible to remain ignorant anymore. It plays a major role in developing opinions or preferences, interpretation of how people see the world around them, purchase decisions, etc.
Most importantly, the media brings awareness to the people. That awareness triggers thinking. And only when the privileged ones think seriously about their role play in development of the deprived, will they participate in it.
The media fraternity has given Smile Foundation overwhelming support so far. Without their advocacy it would have been very difficult for Smile to reach out to all those needy and deserving children through its welfare initiatives.
To view media coverage, visit: http://www.smilefoundationindia.org/online_media.htm