She Can Fly — Give Her the Sky: Smile Foundation Launches US Chapter

Houston: With its commitment to work towards ‘Civic Driven Change’,  on Saturday, August 8, Smile Foundation, an India-based NGO hosted ‘Sing for Smile’ a virtual talk show and live concert with playback singer Amit Kumar to mark the launch of its US chapter.

Sonu Sood, actor and philanthropist; Nawazuddin Siddiqui, actor; Arbaaz Khan, actor; Deepak Chaurasia, journalist and Remo D’Souza, choreographer and director also shared special messages supporting Smile Foundation “#IndiaShares “ campaign during the online event.

The US chapter of Smile Foundation will help spread awareness about Smile’s work in India among the Indian American community. 

‘She Can Fly’ is a flagship initiative by Smile Foundation to enable, equip and empower girl children with quality education, proper nutrition, good health, adequate skills, and above all a lot of self-confidence to help them live their lives to their fullest potential.

This is also a step towards sensitizing civil society at large and helping create a girl child/women friendly society to help her thrive.

Smile Foundation works to empower girls and women, innovative healthcare programs to the families who cannot afford it, education and skills based programs to underprivileged youth and market-focused livelihood programs. The NGO also works towards sensitizing privileged children, youth, and citizens in general to promote an ideology of Civic Driven Change.

Smile Foundation reaches out to 1.5 million beneficiaries a year through its 450+ projects in 23 states in India located in 2000+ villages and slums.

With the coronavirus pandemic setting in, the direct beneficiaries through curative services (primary healthcare only) during COVID-19 were 28,408. Direct beneficiaries through awareness activities/counseling were 29,408 including tele-counseling and direct beneficiaries through thermal and oximeter screening were 11,889. Additionally Smile also provided 15.76 million meals to 180,000 individuals across 23 states through from April to June 2020.

“The burden of poverty weighs down heavier on girls and women in India than it does on the males,” said Hari Agrawal, President of Smile Foundation USA Chapter. “Girl children from the lower strata of society are lucky to see a classroom at all. In India, girls belonging to families in the top 20% get nine years of education on average, while girls from families in the bottom 20% get none at all.”

“We are happy to support Smile Foundation’s efforts in India to provide end-to-end support on healthcare, education, and empowerment to girls and women,” he continued. “The US chapter launch of the Smile Foundation is a beginning to assist hundreds of thousands of underprivileged families in India.”

During the event, Agrawal also recalled his journey to New Delhi and how for the first time he interacted with Smile’s beneficiaries in an urban slum. The gratitude he saw in women and children, moved him so much that he visited Smile’s office in Delhi and meet Smile India team, where he realized that their drive to serve the society was similar.

“We have been observing Smile Foundation activities in India for the last few years. The foundation does tremendous work for thousands of underprivileged and unprivileged people in India, whether it is to provide healthcare or education or girl’s and women’s empowerment. We are launching the US chapter of Smile Foundation so that many Indian Americans in the USA get an opportunity to serve the humanity by associating with a nonprofit committed to give a chance to the people who never had it,” said Jiten Agarwal, Board Member of USA chapter of Smile Foundation.

He also had visited Smile’s centers in India and captured his experience as a momentous one, wherein he saw the changes that Smile is bringing in the country. He encouraged the viewers to visit Smile centers in India and offered his assistance to people visiting as a point of contact.

Speaking on the occasion, Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation said, “It is our immense pleasure to announce the beginning of Smile’s US chapter. After completing 18 successful years in India, we have decided to open our first office in the USA primarily looking at the philanthropic ventures that take place from the country. Smile has partnered with multiple esteemed international organizations from around the globe, it was our future vision to set up a global presence so that we can further strengthen our collaborations.  Smile has been taking strides in combating hunger and healthcare, and the current challenges we are facing in education and livelihood are being tackled through reoriented program structures”.