Focus: Education and holistic development of children
UDAAN started in 1997 to put street children on the road to success, and since then has evolved into a project focused on education and holistic development of children from underprivileged backgrounds. The aim is to enable the child become a confident and financially independent individual.
The project provides the multi-faceted and comprehensive support system that the children lack in their environment. It not only encompasses financial support to a child’s education, but also extends to their nutrition, health care, education, recreation and other needs.
Activities taken up at UDAAN include tuition classes, educational workshops, expert talks, dance, dramatics, art and craft as well as training in leadership and communication skills to develop their self-confidence.
An important aspect of UDAAN is the Food and Nutrition Project under which children receive packets of healthy and nutritious food items each day from Monday to Friday. These food packets are prepared by the women who are engaged under the project UTKARSH.
UDAAN activities take place at the day care centre at Babulnath and Walkeshwar administrative office which is open to all sponsored children from 10.00 am to 6.30 pm.
Over the years, SMILE has touched the lives of over 4,500 children from urban and rural schools. All of them have successfully completed their basic education, with more than a few going on to join professional courses.
Today many of the children from the early years of the UDAAN project are gainfully employed. Some are even working with leading companies or professionals in their chosen fields.
In 2010, SMILE extended the scope of the UDAAN project and began engaging with children with special needs. Till 2017, the work only involved organising a stage show each year called ‘Indra Dhanush’. The show involves children from seven special schools, and is focused on the theme ‘They are not disable, but differently able children’.
In 2018, SMILE took this initiative to a new level under the banner ‘Unchi Udaan’, which aims at offering rehabilitation and training to special children. In the first year, SMILE worked with the children of St 9 and 10 of the Vikas Vidyalaya Deaf and Mute School, introducing them to a certified beauty course which includes Nail Art.
Under ‘Unchi Udaan’, the children will be given access to this and other SMILE sponsored professional certified courses. It will enable these special girls to use their potential and skills and make them more confident and financially independent.