They Took A Loan Of Rs 1.5 lakh To Send 1,000 Children Back To School, Read About The Inspiring Journey Of ‘Smile For All’

Mad4Change By Chaithra B S | 2 min read

Smile for all

Children from low-income families frequently fall on hard times in India’s education systems. Many of them have dropped out of school or have never attended one.

To solve this all Smile For All is working to get these children to go back to school. SFA is an NGO formed by Bhunesh Sharma and his wife Neha Sharma with the mission of providing underprivileged children with quality school education.

Smile For All

 Smile for all
Image: Smile For All

This Jaipur-based organisation, which was founded two years ago, is presently implementing a public outreach initiative called “Happiness Subscription.”

They presently operate in over 200 cities throughout 25 Indian states and have active social programmes in Bangladesh.

Sponsors give Rs 500 every month through Happiness Subscription. The proceeds will be utilised to pay for impoverished children’s school fees.

They have over 1000 kids registered in private schools and have roughly 700 happiness subscribers. 100 of these will be funded by RTE, with the balance coming from private sources.

In the next five years, they intend to acquire at least one million happy subscribers. They also want to take SFA to South East Asia and Africa. For youngsters in Grades VIII and above, the organisation is developing a plan that includes skill and occupational training as well as the cultivation of interests.

Here is how it all started

SFA’s roots date back to the year 2017. While idling at a traffic signal, Bhunesh, an educator and partner at edtech platform Unacademy, encountered two toddlers. The youngsters, on the other hand, were not begging for money, but rather for a pen to write with.

Bhunesh went to the nearest shop, where he bought a pencil and books for the kids. He was encouraged to instruct them as a result of this occurrence.

These youngsters moved to a new slum the next year, but Bhunesh remained to educate them. More quickly joined the courses.

Bhunesh pulled out a Rs 1.5 lakh loan and registered 40 children in school through the Right to Education programme (RTE). A total of 15 of them were enrolled at a private school. As news got out, additional parents asked Bhunesh for assistance in getting their kids to school.

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Taking out a loan was not really a viable choice for Bhunesh in the long term. Bhunesh and Neha founded SFA in February 2019 with the goal of encouraging public engagement and promoting openness in the child protection field.

After that, the pair began devoting their nights to teaching youngsters from the slums. Neha tutored almost 80 pupils at one time.

It is not easy to establish a non-profit organisation. Some  parents were hesitant to send their children because they were worried about false NGOs luring youngsters in with claims of education and then trafficking or training them to beg.  Their fears were legitimate, since the world can be a frightening place, especially for the poor. 

To alleviate their fears, Bhunesh and Neha educated youngsters in the slums, where the parents could relax.

It is not easy to establish a non-profit organisation. Some  parents were hesitant to send their children because they were worried about false NGOs luring youngsters in with claims of education and then trafficking or training them to beg.  Their fears were legitimate, since the world can be a frightening place, especially for the poor. 

To alleviate their fears, Bhunesh and Neha educated youngsters in the slums, where the parents could relax.

Aside from that, SFA pays for school tuition and other expenditures, such as school uniforms, books, and stationary, for those parents who truly cannot afford them.

They also help kids enlist in private schools, either via RTE or through Happiness subscriptions, by paying their school fees. We’ve had to bargain with administrators and ask them to accept children by dropping their fees the majority of the time.

Read more on Smile For All on their website

If you loved this story, read a story about Samudhyoga Waste Chakra – An innovative recycling company that converts your plastic waste and urine into useful products.

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