Gift a Smile provides free, holistic, value based education to underprivileged children in India and elsewhere.
In India many children don't have the opportunity to go to school. Often people from remote, rural areas cannot read or write, as their families were unable to afford to send them to school, or there were no schools within traveling distance.
TheÂ Gift a SmileÂ programme was started a few years ago to build schools and provide education for children in the underprivileged rural, tribal and slum areas of India. We currently support overÂ 115 schools across the country, the largest being just outside Bangalore, with 1000 pupils. The children travel to school every day by school bus, often a journey of two hours. Many of these children are the first in their families ever to go to school. With your support we can continue and expand this valuable work.
Siri pictured aboveÂ has been at the school for two years. She smiles happily as she talks about everything she's learnt. She wants to become a teacher and has already started to teach her older sisters to read. One Pound a day is enough to support one child at school providing everything that's needed for a good education. This is one of the service projects of the International Association for Human Values (IAHV). As well as the basic classroom skills, our schools nurture values of friendliness, compassion and a sense of belonging to a caring community. The Gift a SmileÂ schools always receive the highest accreditation in the annual government inspections.
How the money is spent:
Building and equipping schools. Teachers and teaching materials. School uniforms. Transport,a cooked meal a day. Medical and dental care.
This project is run entirely by volunteers, so that all of your donation goes directly to benefit the children as nothing is deducted for administration. With your help we would like to set up more schools and support more children.
Â£1 a day - Â£7a week - Â£30 a month-Â - can change the life of a child.
Gift a Smile! Gift Education! Help us lay the foundations for a child's future. We need your support to make their dreams come true.
Providing Education in India
Internationally, over the last few years IAHV has established over 115 schools with over 12000 pupils.Â Since 2004, IAHV UK has raised around Â£75,000 for Gift a SmileÂ to provide value based education to poor or disadvantaged children who would not otherwise receive any education at all.
â€œEducation is this civilizationâ€™s greatest leveller. It has the power to empower the weakest of the weak, bring peace to the world and alleviate poverty. It is often seen as the only lit path in the pursuit of happinessâ€ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of IAHV.
The Gift a SmileÂ Project, funds an innovative school service programme for children and their communities in India. It has laid the foundation and created structures that facilitate free, value-based, quality education without compromising on the dignity of children from underprivileged areas.Â Â As part of the project, children are given free education, medical care, free transport, stationary, books, nutritious meals, and school uniforms.
Due to a lack of public schooling in the villages, these free schools representÂ the only opportunity to acquire an education together with skills needed to become a self-sufficient adult.Â The first rural school, VVMVP was set up by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1981.
Rural, Tribal and Slum schools
At present there are 65 Rural Schools established in villages close to a major city, with some kind of road access and electricity. One of the schools is the Dharavi School, in Asiaâ€™s largest slum.Â Established in 2007, the school currently has 228 students, 10 full time teachers and 6 volunteers. Visit www.dharavischool.org .
There are 22 Tribal Schools in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tripura (North East India) where neither road access nor electricity exist.Â The Slum Schools are in urban areas. The Rural and Slum Schools follow aÂ more conventional education programme, while in the Tribal schools the emphasis is more on providing a basic education platform with development of entrepreneurial skills that these children can build upon, if they choose to.
Over 12,000 children a year benefit
To date more thanÂ 115 schools have been set up in the in the tribal and rural belts of India where child labour and poverty are widespread. Over 10,000 children benefit annually from the education and skills from these free schools.
There is a continual need for setting up free schools, and reaching out to more children, as well as to their parents, who often donâ€™t prioritise the needÂ for an education,Â prefering to send them onto farms to earn a few rupees.Â This is even more so forÂ girls who are expected to be marriedÂ at the age of 14, and bear several children by the age of 20.Â Without an educationÂ and no money, they are left with no self confidence and no self-esteem.
Slums have their own set of challenges, located in the hearts of cities, the disparity between the affluent and slum dwellers is a constant challenge to young minds.Â Lack of availability of free education forces them to look for other means to make a living.Â Drugs, violence, alcohol, and tobacco are easier to come by than books.
Gift a Smile is committed to expanding geographically within Asia. Our goal is to have over 200 schools in India and schools in Srilanka and Bangladesh. Our first school in South Africa was started in 2006 and we will continue expanding into the African continent.
IAHV UK has to date raised about Â£75,000 towards the Gift a SmileÂ by various fundraising events including the 2008 Snow Ball, the annual July British 10k London Run, as well as donations from regular sponsors.Â In 2009-2010 we provided Â£28,500 to the schools.Â Â A new fundraising scheme that has recently been implemented involvesÂ a widespread distribution of collection boxes.
If you would like to help, please contact Jaymini Chouhan at
The Gift a Smile programme is an initiative undertaken by IAHV in association with itâ€™s sister organisation the Art of Living Foundation. You may make a single contribution or alternatively set up a standing order for monthly or annual contributions. As a donor you will receive our quarterly newsletter "Smile Times" as an update on our projects. If you are a UK taxpayer please complete the gift aid declaration to increase the value of your contribution. For more information see â€˜How to Donateâ€™