When we see slum children picking up garbage on the street, begging on the red lights or selling toys etc., most of us insult them and drive away from them. Such discrepancies are everywhere. It is impossible for such children to get an education, providing quality education to such children is the base foundation of Smile for All Society. The foundation of Smile for All was laid by the person who is the teacher himself and who can understand the importance of education more than a teacher? Education is the only source from which society and country can develop. It all starts with a story, something that inspires you to think beyond your comfort zone.
In 2016, Mr Bhunesh Sharma who is himself saw two kids with the books and copy at the traffic light, asking people for money to buy a pencil. Bhunesh Sharma bought those kids pencils etc. from the nearby shop. This incident created a stir in his conscience and the idea comes to his mind to do something for the education of such children. He started imparting education with his wife to four children of slum during evening time. Gradually the children grew and to do something more good for these children, he also took a loan from the bank and about 40 children got enrolled in the school. But Bhunesh wanted to do more for the education of such children for a long time. It was from here that he got the idea of establishing Smile for All and in 2017 he founded SFA and registered it under Rajasthan Cooperative Act 1958 (Section 28, 1958). By 2019, about 100 such children had been enrolled in the school by Smile for All.
Smile for All helps in all the ways of getting the children enrolled in the school but also the process related to admission like getting the child’s Aadhar card, birth and residence certificate etc. Negotiating fees with schools for admission, persuading them to accept children from low-income society, has become a priority for the SFA. It is not a school fee here only, which require money. The expenses of uniforms, books, stationery etc. have to be borne by the parents of the children. Patents are also prepared by explaining the importance of education to their children.
In this mission of Mr Bhunesh Sharma and Neha Sharma at Smile for All, more than 4000 volunteers from India and Bangladesh are joining them in making this mission a success and training the next generation. Applications are accepted through an online form to become an SFA volunteer, after which they are selected through a rigorous interview process. Smile for All is Bhunesh and Neha’s recognition of what drives them and the 4000+ volunteers and Happiness Subscribers every step of the way.
An intense discussion among the SFA team led to a brilliant idea and the idea was named “Happy Subscription”, where everyone can sponsor a child’s education every month at the cost of one pizza. With this thinking, today more than 600 subscribers are connected with SFA and are getting information related to child’s education through the SFA.
If we are earning and can afford a pizza, we certainly can afford to pay for a child’s education at the cost of that pizza. Smile for All looks at it as an investment into the future of the world because every educated child is an open window for the world.
Setting up an NGO with such a big vision is not possible without challenges. Many parents are reluctant to send their children as they were concerned about fake NGOs who lure the children in with promises of education and then traffic them or train them to beg. Parental concerns are natural because the world is too scary, especially for the less fortunate.
About 84 million people in India are living below the poverty line which is 6% of its total population as of May 2021. The only way to reduce it is by providing quality education to the children. Smile for All is working to increase literacy at the national and international levels.
About 1000 children have been enrolled in school by SFA across the country so far. The organization is working in 250 cities (Jaipur, Kota, Chandigarh, Hisar, Patna, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Baksar, Bhojpur, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Bhopal etc.) of about 25 states in the country like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra etc. through Smile Volunteers. Presently the organization is providing education to more than one thousand children in different cities in the country.
“Our target is to enrol 10 million children in school in the next 5 years. Our commitment to transparency and our Happiness Subscription program will help us make our dreams come true”, says Bhunesh Sharma, Co-founder & CEO, Smile for All.
“We have helped a few children, but before I claim that I am satisfied with what smile for All has done so far, I feel there is much more to be done. The kids I see sleeping on footpaths and flyovers are a constant reminder that we still have a long way to go”, says Neha Sharma, Co-founder & COO, Smile for All.