Monday, March 26, 2007

SMILE please

Once upon a time there was a little girl standing near a sea shore. She was trying to throw back the star fishes back to sea. An old man who passed by asked the little girl "Stupid Girl. How many can you save by doing this?"
The little girl looked at him and replied "I may not save all of them...but I can save this one.. "
and saying this she throws one back to sea and picks another one and says "and this one....."


We all have come across malnourished kids in the traffic signal, in slums, the maiden’s kid and in so many places. And most probably we think "Wish I could do something to help this kid out of this mess". But...we don’t know how to do it.

What Social Service is all about?
Social Service is a very misconstrued word in our lingo. Most of the people imagine that one needs to dedicate one self totally to a cause and abstain from normal life and become a super human. The truth is that all one needs is a deep hearted desire and a little bit of time management.

What is SMILE?
SMILE was formed by 20 members on the shores of Besant nagar beach on April 04, 2004 with a desire to bring SMILE to as many faces as possible. What started as 20 member team grew to 100 members by 2005 and we registered as it as SMILE WELFARE FOUNDATION. By 2006 we managed to get 80G Tax exemption status for contributions made to SMILE. Today SMILE is about 400 member strong organization with members functioning in Chennai, Bangalore and some other parts of the country.

What does SMILE do?
Most of the people who are reading this post must be from the Middle class. We know the value of each and every rupee and are thankful for every morsel of food. But have we thought about people who toil to make ends meet each and every other day and for whom childhood is mostly about watching the smallest joys of crackers, new clothes, sweets and savories and toys in the hands of the neighboring kids from affluent families. The basic aim of SMILE is to restore SMILE to such kids and educate them for a better tomorrow. Since 2004, we at SMILE searched for destitute homes which are without much support and which have been struggling to sustain to exist.

The various projects undertaken in SMILE are as below
Project Sadhana - Educational loan at 0% for students from low income group to pursue their education. We receive requests from SMILE members and news papers as Dinamani and Indian express
Project Atchaya - Supporting destitute homes and support them in their financial, infrastructural and educational needs.
Project Punnagai Pallam - Teams will be formed for each home which will assist them in their education and help them grow as better individuals.
Project Aripta - To help victims in event of any natural calamity.

SMILE has been supporting NGO's as SUYAM , Annai Sathiya Destitute home for kids in Waltex Road in Chennai, Home at Kosapet, GLC in Tambaram. Some of the SMILE members have been also teaching the kids basic Maths, Science and English to those kids. SMILE provided water purifiers and some basic amenities to homes under the Atchaya project. Also under Sadhana Project we have been supporting educational expenses of around 70 people by providing them with loans at 0% interest.



Why SMILE?
SMILE is run by individuals who are working full time in various organizations with a desire to make a change in the society. Every member of SMILE is encouraged to contribute in any way that he/she wants. You can contribute any amount of your choice every month to SMILE. All contributions made to SMILE are tax exempted under 80G status. You can contribute one time for any special occasions as Birthday or Anniversary. You can visit the destitute homes and spend your precious time with the kids and help them to smile. SMILE has a very transparent structure wherein all contributions made and expenditures incurred are mailed in a spreadsheet to all the members of SMILE.

What can I do?
If I could tell you about the dedication of my friends Guna, Gopi, Rajesh, Dinesh and Latha, I could talk for hours and hours about each of them. There is common misconception that we cannot balance our work life and help others. I often wondered how my dear friend Nandoo was able to manage both successfully. Once when I asked the same, he shot back "What we do here at SMILE is not very great. It is our responsibility. We received all our moral support from parents, relatives, school, and friends. SMILE is a platform to pay back what we have got to the society."

You could be a working professional or a college student who has a desire to do something soul satisfying...an opportunity where all we crave for is not money, but a word for appreciation.....just a smile. There must be some 10th or 12th standard kid near your house who has no one to advice them regarding their career and feels lost. Just hear their aspirations and guide them, or buy them notebook, or a pen as a good luck for their exams and say that you will pray for their success in the exams. You would be first person they would show their mark sheets to after their parents…..and in that moment you will feel an unexplainable joy and elation.

Just spare one weekend and visit some kids at a destitute home and you don’t even need to buy them sweets or chocolates. All they need is your love and affection and an hour or 2 of your precious time. Trust me...once you surrender to their smile and their affection and calls of Anna or akka....you will crave for more. Try this for one weekend and you will thank me for your life.

Why especially now mention SMILE?
On April 1, 2007 we at SMILE are celebrating our 3rd anniversary at Kumari Meena Muthayya College in Chennai. Check the poster for more details. If you want to be a part of this revolution please mail me at harishcn@gmail.com or go here and click the link JOIN SMILE. To know more about SMILE, click here .

As Mahatma Gandhi told "You must be the change you want to see in the world". Let us be the change and let us help a few more lives to SMILE.

33 comments:

Nithya said...

Awesome. That is indeed a noble deed. A THOUGHT, to help the destitutes, alone is not needed. The will to put it down into action is what is needed and that is exactly what you people are doing. Will try to join this organization and bring a smile on atleast a single destitute's face :)
Keep up the great work Harish and congratulations on the third anniversary of SMILE. Hope many more people join this organization and serve people and light the candle to illuminate the darkness in a person's life

SKM said...

Thats a good thought. When i do volunteer work here at churches and schools ,I always wondered about ,why don't we have this concept back in our community.This is an eye opener.Thanks for the info.

ambi said...

This is really great harish. As nandoo said, it's our duty to clean this society at least upto some extent.
already came to know thru Ms.C and will mail U soon about further details.
what about in bnglre..?

priya said...

A beautiful post harish:)) I have been helping few people back home..
Will go thru' the site for more info'.

Priya said...

:-) Any branches or similar organizations in Hyderabad?

[I'm a different Priya - not the one above. Came here from Nithya's]

Sat said...

HEY HEY
just when i thought this guy had to write somethign about it....voila!

Sat said...

hehe...nalla prolougue maari ezhithitta....shoober :D
way to go you guys...sure come a long way!

Nivi said...

its a thought that crosses everybody's mind but a few actually go ahead and make it possible. The least we could all do is to join and help the cause flourish.
gr8 going guys!!!

brute said...

way to go bro. me joined smile with a :) ...

Padma said...

good to c such interest in you :).. and yes they all need ur time more and off course some monetary benefit too :). i know three to four organisations like this :).. i very well remember the days i visited vishranti, they need an listening ear :).. and two more old age homes i visited .. more tragic stories.. my was heavily shaken... i thanked god for me giving me wonderful parents and enviroment to live in:)..
anyway good work keep it up:)..

Sat said...

hey is that the invite or what?
cute!...esp those little hand prints at the bottom :)

Aditi said...

reminds me of ASHA... its a good cause...

Ganesh Ranganathan said...

great work Harish...

Dreamzz said...

Wow! Harish! great work! Even though I cannot join this.. since I am not in there, I can certainly get my friends involved in this thing..

Or can I join this.. let me visit the link and find out..

Great work.. hats off..

Actions do speak louder than words!

KK said...

Great effort Harish!!!

Ms.Congeniality said...

Harish,
I am proud to be part of SMILE though I haven't done much for it till now. Now that since I would be moving to Bangalore after marriage, do let know whom to contact about its operations at Bangalore.

breathless said...

l-o-v-e-l-y post...had a great time reading...keep up the good work! ;;)

Curious said...

An excellent cause...will surely participate when am in Chennai next time... or if ur thinking iof expanding it to a global range...Please feel free to include me from the Middle East..!

Ganesh Ranganathan said...

Great work dude....me too is goin to join SMILE

Janani said...

Noble thoughts. And u deserve a lot of kudos for just this post. I have worked in Udhavum karangal here in chennai when I was at home waiting for the call letter.

I know how the kids over there felt when you jsut go and talk to them for sometime, just stay ther to hear their stories and about their lives..

raghu ram prasad said...

very nice blog u published..visit me

Deepa said...

Nice Harish.

Arunkumar said...

Hats off Harish. We are trying something such. I will contact you for more details.

No point living if we cant payback the society. Noble thought. Great job.

Dreamzz said...

And the first 3 line story! that is one of my most fav inspirational story though it is a bit changed where i read it.. "Winners dont do different things....."

Harish said...

@Nithya
Its not even needed to join SMILE. SMILE is a platform for doing work. But its nice to know when someone appreciates it.

@SKM
Great work that u do

@Ambi
Bangalore SMILE is not fully functional bcoz of lack of volunteers :-(

Harish said...

@Priya
Thanks a ton yaar.

@Priya
No yaar. I dont know. You can just visit any dstitute homes in ur vicinity and help them.

@Sat
Its been a long journey. And i hope we stay aboard as long as we can...

Harish said...

@Nivi
A million thanks for ur support yaar..


@Brute
Great going guns Bro

@Padma
So nice to hear this. We all could do it...it is just that we need to manage some time...

Harish said...

@Sat
Thats th official invite. Dinesh's mastermind. My contribution? The kids pic :-)

@Aditi
exactly yes madam

@Ganesh
Nice to have u sir...

Harish said...

@Dreamzz
Its not even necessary that u shld do it for SMILE. The thought alone matters. And u do hav one....

@KK
Thanks thala..

@Ms C
U need to contact Rajesh Nair as in the contact link. We need more ppl like u and Ambi ji for SMILE bangalore :D

Harish said...

@Breathless
Thanks a ton yaar

@Curious
U r welcome anytime u r in Chennai...

@Janani
I had the same feeling...its priceless...

@Raghu
Cant see the link Sir...

Harish said...

@Deepa
:D

@Arun
Very perfectly said yaar...

@Dreamzz
This story was reminded to me by nandoo...

Aparna said...

Great work indeed!

Hell's Angel said...

i have been a part of CRY for a long long time.. Been doing some help to them.. so any branches in hyderabad?? now dont ask me 2 look 4 myself.. i dono the place either..