Honorary VisitIt was indeed a moment of pride for everyone at SMILE when Late Dr. Abdul Kalam our former President visited SMILE in 2011.
He learned about SMILE’s involvement with rural schools and since it aligned with his interest of helping education in rural India he made a visit to SMILE.
During the meeting and interactions, he wanted to know more about the methodology SMILE was using to work with rural projects in India. He too believed there was a lot of potential in the youth living in our villages but they lacked the facilities required for their education and growth. SMILE’s rural project and late Dr. Abdul Kalam’s Project PURA’s (Provide Urban amenities in Rural areas objectives was almost same. He urged that they be helped by organizations like ours. He believed that the youth in the country needed a good and high-quality education to grow.
Dr. Kalam shared an insightful afternoon with us at SMILE which we are honored and thankful for. He said, “don’t bring the innocence of the villages to the cities but take the resources and amenities from the urban to the rural areas.”
The Royal VisitIt was a moment of pride and joy for all of us at SMILE when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate visited SMILE in April 2016 and interacted with our children and women. SMILE had organized an event at Banganga for the Royal couple. It was an unforgettable day for all of us.
The couple was welcomed by our SMILE children with a traditional welcome of garlands and playing the lezim drums. The royal couple spent some time with our Utkarsh women and our children through an interactive session to know each one of them. The couple visited the community area of our families where our women showcased their talents and products they had made. Prince William also spoke to all the school children and asked them about their favorite subjects and how they are able to excel in school. Every child proudly said they were very well encouraged and supported by SMILE.
In the dusty square, the couple played football with our children. Residents from the locality sought vantage points from upstairs windows and ledges. The couple met some of SMILE’s success stories. One of them was Siddhesh Tirloskar who was challenged by Prince William for his dance moves. Eventually Prince William had to give up on Siddhesh’s flip-flop moves!