Chairman's Report 2017-18
We started our work of supporting the physically, mentally and socially challenged children in India in the year 2002 by working with dedicated individuals who had set up their own micro NGOs using their personal resources. For the past 16 years we have been backing 4 main projects, 3 of which have been getting national awards for their performance, every single year for the past 5-6 years. It is no mean achievement when there are thousands of NGOs in India. Thus thanks to your ongoing generous support and encouragement and the painstaking efforts of the founders of these projects, we have come a very long way since our inception. With deep gratitude I am excited to share the latest developments at our chosen projects:
Action for Autism (AFA)
Started in the back garden of the founder in the year 2000, Action for Autism is now the largest institution for the full spectrum of Autism in the whole of Asia. Their faculties have to date trained over 1600 individuals through workshops in India and South Asia. It always has a very busy calendar packed with various types of assessments, training and intervention programmes.
A major challenge that AFA has undertaken is to care for the future of persons with autism, a critical area that remains largely neglected. Their very ambitious Residence cum Rehabilitation Project- ANANDA – was conceptualised to achieve this objective. It gives me great pleasure to report that this Group Home Ananda for adults with autism is finally a working reality.
AFA's teachers, therapists and staff remain dedicated in their efforts to make the world a better place for people with autism and their families through their ongoing programmes. In the last quarter alone they trained nearly 500 parents and professionals through their training workshops, lectures and Talks. The AFA team is also a part of several important international consultations and roundtables regarding early detection and intervention. This year they received the prestigious Give Assured 5 Stars Badge from Give India.
Akshaya Pratishthan is an institution headquartered in Delhi which caters to children with almost any kind of disability and helps them to integrate with normal kids where they play and learn together from Nursery to class 8th.
They provide Rehabilitative services such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Prosthetics and Orthotics etc. Akshay Pratishthan runs several pre-vocational and vocational training programmes from class 5 onwards to make the children economically independent adults. These skills are imparted as part of their curriculum. Their mission is to create an inclusive and barrier free environment for people with disabilities so that they can lead a life of equality and dignity.
In addition to the school in Delhi, their community based rehabilitation initiative in over 60 villages in Rajasthan was started over a decade ago with the aim of rehabilitating disabled children. They are provided with basic education along with vocational training and computer skills. Their in-house physiotherapy unit caters to numerous patients on a daily basis and they also conduct regular medical camps. In this way, Akshya is providing a glimmer of hope to the once neglected and shunned section of the community.
Our star performer PPES which started with Girls Education with a difference in one of the poorest rural UP villages in India has now extended its wings into full-fledged community development in that region. They now have not one but 4 schools where approximately 1400 girls are studying. Up until the year 2000 no girl in that region had ever been to a school.
Their women's self-help group, started just a few years back, now has 3600 members and they are running two women led dairy schemes in the Anupshahr district. These Self Help Groups are doing something that no one before them could ever do viz., getting rid of the extortionate money-lender. There is so much happening at PPES that I don’t know how much to highlight.
Giving them the opportunity to study at home with the help of solar lanterns, the girls are now performing exceptionally well in their high school national level exams. 38 of 41 girls taking the 12th grade board exam this year passed with 1st division and the other three with 2nd division. And all 43 passed their 10th grade board exam with 1st division. It was the best result in the whole of UP.
But, the real matter of pride for us all is that currently 81 PPES girls are pursuing further studies in professional programmes. As late as last year 72% of the girls in this district were married before the age of 15. These are revolutionary changes.
Another unbelievable achievement of this institution is that three of their girls have been selected for National Basketball Camp. In the last quarter their basketball team won the championship in Delhi. Such inspirational achievements are working as an example in these girls’ communities.
Their vocational work is getting them contracts from such prestigious outlets as the Cottage Industries Emporium and Blackberry.
Thanks to the dream of one visionary, the transformation of the entire region and the enlightenment of its people is beginning to show in all sorts of ways. Their girls are no longer a liability, they are actually becoming the main breadwinners of the family.
Our smallest project, Vatsalya Vatika, in Haridwar, which now houses 85 orphan boys and children of lepers, also makes us very proud to witness the all-round progress being made there. Instead of begging on the streets, these boys are doing as well as their classmates from more privileged backgrounds in all areas –academic, sports and all co-curricular activities. It is a pleasure to see their happy, healthy & self-confident faces. Their senior boys are now going for fully-supported professional education with the potential of landing respectable jobs.
Our prime focus of late has been on the completion of a new building to improve the cramped living conditions of the children. I am happy to report that the boys have now moved into the new building and the work has now begun to build a full- fledged dispensary for the boys.
This year we have adopted a similar NGO for girls in Kankhal near Haridwar, called Matraanchal.
SmS India Foundation
In 2015 we set up SmS India Foundation to get directly involved in community welfare work in India. With deep gratitude I am excited to tell you that our purpose-built holistic healthcare and community welfare centre in Chamba - a beautiful and picturesque region of Uttarakhand, at the foothills of Himalayas, was inaugurated last month and we held our first retreat and Ayurvedic training programme for the local women there. For more details of our activities please visit our website www.smsindiafoundation.org. It is a stunningly beautiful place. Anyone could fall in love with it. Please come and experience its blissful energy. Our charges for the week-long retreats are minimal. Our next two retreats will be in late May and late Sep next year.
Finally, I would like to share my feelings as a proud grandmother whose granddaughter Siena, instead of taking birthday presents, raised just under £900 for SmS at her 11th birthday in April this year. This was the second time that this child sacrificed her birthday presents and raised money for SmS.
In conclusion I would like to reassure you that SmS is totally committed to serving the local community here through preventative healthcare workshops and supporting the underprivileged children in India. Unlike other charities, we have no admin expenses and every penny we raise here through your generosity goes towards supporting the projects I have talked about. Thank you very much for your valuable support.
Dr Indira Anand
Chair: SMSView Chairman's Annual Report for year 2012-13 View Chairman's Annual Report for year 2013-14 View Chairman's Annual Report for year 2014-15