SMILE is rooted in a moment in 1997, when some of its founders witnessed a handful of street children loitering aimlessly around the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai. They were enjoying what they considered to be their ‘freedom’, quite unaware of what this would mean for their future.
What began as an informal, but regular interaction with the group right there on the waterfront, got a boost in the following year when the then NagarSevak (Municipal Corporator) Mr Gunvant Seth arranged for the project to move to a Day Care Centre at nearby Babulnath.
This helped to shape ‘UDAAN’, the project that reaches out to children and offers them an education and training in other necessary social skills, transforming them into resourceful and independent individuals.
The intervention with children, inevitably, brought SMILE’s volunteers in contact with their families, particularly the mothers. It gave rise to ‘UTKARSH’, a project to get women out of the four walls of their homes and uplift them through various vocational, educational and personality grooming workshops. This has enabled many to not only earn a sustainable income for themselves and their families, but also became more confident and independent human beings.
With the help of a generous donor, Mr. Roopchandji Bhanshali, in 2002, SMILE moved to its central administrative office in Walkeshwar, which ever since then has been the nerve-centre of all its initiatives.
In 2003, SMILE opened the first Montessori school in South Mumbai specially for underprivileged children. Then, in 2008, the organisation widened its efforts to reach out to the rural population, upgrading school facilities at the Panwal village in Ratnagiri.
Subsequently, the Rural Project has expanded into new areas and now covers a number of schools at different locations in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
In 2017, SMILE celebrated its 20th anniversary, proud in the knowledge that it had till then, helped transform the lives of so many underprivileged families.
SMILE (Society Moved to Instill Love with Empathy) is founded by Mrs. Anaxi Shah and registered as a non-profit, non-governmental organization.
Day care centre opened at Babulnath with support of Mr. Gunvant Seth. Project UTKARSH, to empower women, is born.
Project ‘Umang’ for senior citizens initiated
SMILE moves to administrative office in Walkeshwar donated by Mr. Roopchandji Bhanshali.
Sponsorship programme for school students launched. SMILE Montessori opened.
Disaster relief and rehabilitation assistance to those affected by the floods in Mumbai
First rural project begins at Panwal village in Ratnagiri
Unchi Udaan was launched for development of children with special needs
Former President Late Dr. Abdul Kalam visits SMILE
SMILE organized a Mega Republic Day Parade along with Mr. Mangal Prabhat Lodha
SMILE Day Care Centre given a new look with NDTV assistance. Rural project expands – covers nine schools in Maharashtra and four in Gujarat.
DMIT was introduced to help children tap their talents and choose their careers.
His Highness Prince William and Kate from England spend an afternoon with children from SMILE
SMILE completes two decades of service